Lower blood pressure: How much salt you ingest has a significant impact

Can salad and fruit balance too much salt in your diet?

Researchers have now found that consuming too much salt leads to harmful health effects that cannot be compensated for by an otherwise healthy diet. It does not help to consume a lot of healthy food if you consume too much salt at the same time. The negative effects on blood pressure are not reduced by a healthy diet.

In their investigation, scientists from Imperial College London found that the effects of excessive salt consumption on human blood pressure cannot be reduced if the person concerned otherwise eat a healthy diet. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Hypertension".

Salt increases blood pressure

Doctors have warned many times that people should not drink too much salt to avoid negative health effects. On the other hand, we need the mineral to prevent various deficiency symptoms. In other words, too much salt is harmful to health, but too little salt also has negative effects. It is known that high salt intake increases blood pressure. Too high blood pressure in turn leads to various dangerous cardiovascular diseases and can even trigger a stroke.

How much salt should people consume per day?

Recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) advise that adult people should consume a maximum of six grams of salt a day. However, on average, adults ingest far more than the recommended amount.

4,680 subjects were examined for the study

In their study, the experts examined the diet of a total of 4,680 men and women from China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States by analyzing the data from the so-called INTERMAP study (International Study of Macro / Micronutrients and Blood Pressure). The subjects were between 40 and 59 years old. Between 1997 and 1999, all of the participants were medically monitored for four days. Each of the subjects examined provided two urine samples during the study. Height, weight and blood pressure were also taken into account, the scientists explain.

Sodium and potassium were measured

The team then analyzed the concentrations of sodium and potassium in the urine samples, and at the same time noted the nutrients each of the participants consumed. Of particular interest were nutrients that are associated with low blood pressure, such as vitamin C, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, most of which are found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But can these foods naturally lower blood pressure if people consume too much salt daily?

What was the average salt intake?

The analysis of the amount of sodium in the urine samples gave the researchers a precise indication of the individual salt intake. Sodium is a major component of table salt and leads to increased blood pressure. The potassium level, which is also recorded, is associated with low blood pressure. For example, potassium is found in higher amounts in green vegetables. The team found that the average adult salt intake in each of the regions considered was well above the recommended daily amount. The average salt intake for participants was 8.5 g for residents in the UK, 9.6 g for people from the USA, 13.4 g for people in China and 11.7 g for subjects from Japan.

Hypertension is a global threat

The researchers found a strong link between higher salt intake and high blood pressure, even among those who had high urine potassium levels and a healthy diet. There is currently a true global epidemic of high blood pressure, which is related to excessive salt intake, explains the study author Dr. Queenie Chan from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London. There is no way to reduce blood pressure through a healthy diet if you consume too much salt. A low-salt diet is key to avoid hypertension, the expert adds.

More research is needed

Since a large amount of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods, food manufacturers should take measures to reduce the salt in their products. Although the research team concludes that a healthy diet cannot compensate for the harmful effects of high salt intake, more research is needed to get more accurate results. (as)

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