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Healthy Diet May Not Offset Negative Effects of Sodium on Blood Pressure

It’s well known that high amounts of sodium contribute to high blood pressure. It has also been suggested that the blood pressure-lowering effects of fruits and vegetables may counteract the effects of consuming a lot of sodium. However, a recent study suggests that following a healthy diet may not counteract the effects of high sodium intake on blood pressure.


Participants in the study included 4,680 people between the ages of 40 and 59 who were tracked for four days between 1997 and 1999. During that time, two urine samples were taken. The researchers also measured height, weight, and blood pressure.


The researchers examined concentrations of sodium and potassium in the urine samples. The researchers also used dietary information to determine the volunteers’ intake of more than 80 nutrients that may be linked to low blood pressure, including vitamin C, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.


After examining the data, the researchers found a correlation between high blood pressure and higher salt intake, even in people who were consuming high amounts of potassium and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. They also found that the average salt intake was 10.7 grams per day, with the average intake of the UK being 8.5 g, the US being 9.4 g, China being 13.4 g, and Japan being 11.7 g. The CDC recommends an upper limit of 2.3 grams per day.


The researchers found that increasing salt above the 10.7 grams average was associated with higher blood pressure. Every additional 7 g of salt above the average intake was associated with a 3.7 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure.


Researchers from Imperial College London conducted the study. It was published on March 5, 2018, in the journal Hypertension.


US dietary guidelines recommend a daily maximum of 1,500 milligrams of sodium for people with high blood pressure or at a high risk of developing it. The daily recommended maximum for most other people is 2,300 milligrams.


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. It’s also recommended that people cut out or reduce processed foods, choosing less salty items at restaurants, adding less salt when cooking at home, and tasting food before adding salt at the table.

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