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
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
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)