Simply avoiding pre-salted food and not adding salt to food can result in a modest but statistically significant reduction in blood pressure, research findings suggest.
A modest reduction in dietary salt reduced sodium content in the urine by about 35 percent, and lowered daytime blood pressure by 12.1 mm Hg systolic and 6.8 mm Hg diastolic in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) not taking anti-hypertensive medication, reports Dr. Javad Kojuri. Blood pressure readings at night were slightly lower.
Kojuri and Dr. Rahim Rahimi, both from Shiraz University in Iran, assessed blood pressure and 24-hour urinary sodium excretion in 60 individuals before and after instructing them to follow a "no salt added" diet for six weeks.
Twenty subjects who did not follow the diet were used as a comparison group ("controls"). 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, according to the report, published in the medical journal BMC Cardiovascular Disorders.
After six weeks, the researchers noted a significant reduction in urinary sodium excretion in those on the diet, compared with those not on the diet.
The blood pressure reductions were seen even in the 50 percent of the patients who consumed a medium amount (three to seven grams/day) of dietary salt and the 25 percent of the patients who ingested seven or more grams per day. Only 21 percent of the subjects consumed less than three grams of salt daily.
These results provide strong support for universal salt reduction in all hypertensive individuals, the researchers conclude, but the limited size of this study "mandates larger-scale, population-based studies to (further) evaluate the effect of a 'no salt added' diet," Kojuri said.
(Agencies via Shenzhen Daily November 26, 2007)