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Wellness Tip

No Such Thing as a Healthy High-Sodium Diet

by Wellness Letter  

A healthy diet does not significantly counteract the effect of a high sodium intake on blood pressure, according to a study in the journal Hypertension.

Researchers correlated data on dietary intake, urinary sodium, blood pressure, and other factors for 4,680 middle-aged people from the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan and found that blood pressure rose with higher intakes of sodium even in those who consumed high amounts of potassium and other key nutrients from fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.

Notably, while potassium is known to help lower blood pressure, high intakes of it only modestly offset the blood-pressure-boosting effect of high sodium consumption. This was also true of other nutrients that may help control blood pressure.

Thus, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is most effective when people limit sodium (to less than 2,300 milligrams a day), the researchers pointed out.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see How to Shake the Salt Habit.