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Gradually Increasing Sodium Intake Raises Risk of High Blood Pressure

High sodium intake has long been associated with high blood pressure. Now, a recent study has found that slowly increasing the amount of salt you eat raises the risk of high blood pressure as much as consistently eating a high salt diet.


Participants in the study included 4,523 people who had normal blood pressure. The researchers estimated individual sodium intake by calculating 24-hour urinary sodium excretion from spot urine. Of those participants, 1,027 (22.7%) developed high blood pressure over the three-year study period.


At the end of the study period, participants consuming the least amount of sodium were consuming 2,925 mg per day.  Those consuming the highest amount were consuming 5,644 mg per day.


After examining the data, the researchers found that the individuals with higher sodium intake were more likely to develop high blood pressure than those with lower sodium intake. They also found that a gradual increase in sodium intake raised the risk by the same amount as a consistently high sodium intake.  This highlights the importance of maintaining a low sodium diet over a lifetime.


Researchers from the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 29, 2015, in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


While it’s well known that too much sodium is bad for your heart, previous studies have also found that too much sodium is associated with poor bone health. If you’re concerned about salt intake, consider substituting low-sodium options for flavoring food, including natural herbs and low-sodium tamari, which is similar to soy sauce.

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