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No Salt Added Diet Will Help Lower Blood Pressure!

Posted Aug 25 2008 3:05pm

If one avoids pre-salted foods and does not add salt to foods, his or her blood pressure will be reduced by a modest but statistically significant amount. This is the finding of a study conducted by Shiraz University in Iran and published in the medical journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders.



Blood pressure and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion in 60 individuals were assessed before and after instructing them to follow 'no salt added' diet for 6 weeks. 20 subjects who did not follow the diet were used as a control group. All of the subjects were similar in age, gender, weight, blood pressure, and initial urinary sodium excretion. The average age was 49, half were men, and all of the patients had mild to moderate hypertension.



After 6 weeks, a significant reduction in urinary sodium excretion was noted in those on the diet, compared with those not on the diet.



It was found that when the sodium content in the urine of their subjects was reduced by about 35 per cent, the daytime blood pressure was lowered by 12.1 mm Hg systolic and 6.8 mm Hg diastolic in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) not taking anti-hypertensive medications. Blood pressure readings at night were found to be slightly lower.



The blood pressure reductions were seen even in the 50 per cent of the patients who consumed a medium amount (3 to 7 grams/day) of dietary salt and the 25 percent of the patients who ate 7 or more grams per day. Only 21 per cent of the subjects took less than 3 grams of salt daily.



The researchers concluded that these results do provide strong support for universal salt reduction in all hypertensive individuals. Since hypertension is a risk factor for heart disease, reducing blood pressure will mean the risk of developing heart disease can be reduced.



Nevertheless, they felt that a larger scale, population based studies is necessary to further evaluate the effect of a 'no salt added' diet.
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