A recent research suggests that ditching salt from the diet could prove ‘as effective as’ medication in high blood pressure. The findings appeared this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Study authors are confident that low-salt diets alone could reduce high blood pressure just like anti-hypertensive drugs or even more. Lead author Stephen Juraschek of the Harvard Medical School in Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center noted that his team found evidence that forgoing dietary sodium could do wonders for people at a high risk of high blood pressure.
Blood pressure comes in two flavors: systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure which represents the top number measures the pressure added by the bloodstream when pushing to artery walls. Diastolic pressure measures pressure between heartbeats.
Hypertension happens when these two numbers become too high. If it is left unchecked it can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and even death.
The main factors that can lower high blood pressure are exercising and a healthy diet. However, in some cases, doctors prescribe medication.
Low-Salt Diet Can Lower High Blood Pressure
The latest findings, on the other hand, revealed that a diet based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and with low sodium content can be as powerful as medication in controlling the condition. Some adults could ditch medication altogether if they follow a low-sodium diet.
The latest study involved 412 participants, who weren’t taking antihypertensive drugs when the trial started. After four weeks, the group on a DASH diet who had high blood pressure (150 mm Hg systolic or higher) saw the readings fall to 139 mm Hg on average (an 11 mm Hg reduction).
Volunteers with systolic blood pressure lower than 130 mm Hg saw an improvement of 4 mm Hg in four weeks while on the DASH diet. When researchers combined the diet with a smaller salt intake the results were “outstanding”.
The group with the highest blood pressure (150 mm Hg systolic or higher) saw blood pressure fall to 129 mm Hg (a 21 mm Hg reduction).
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