Those with high blood pressure should read the information below describing a small trial that was conducted at the University of Alabama. The study clearly show what the results can be for those who are able to eliminate or dramatically scale back on their ingestion of salt, just as their doctors have often recommended.
Sodium is one of the most difficult substances to eliminate from the dinner table. I recently visited a Trader Joe's store -- shame on them. Their prepared sandwiches, salads and frozen foods are a nightmare for those concerned with sodium. A small package of BBQ ribs had over 2300 mgs of sodium; a salad with nothing but lettuce and some chicken with dressing had over 900 mg. Stores like this, particularly chains that have the ability (as Trader Joe's does) to negotiate with suppliers on their food ingredients, really need to get in line with the fact that high blood pressure is a major problem worldwide. They are not doing their customer base any favors by selling such products.
In the Alabama study, a team of researchers enrolled 13 patients with resistant high blood pressure who were taking at least three blood-pressure-lowing medications. The participants were randomly assigned to a high- or low-salt diet and then monitored using a recorder worn continuously for 24 hours. Researchers found that those on the low-salt diet saw a 22.6 mmHg drop in the systolic (top number representing pressure while the heart contracts) blood pressure, along with a 9.2 mmHg drop in their diastolic blood pressure (bottom number representing the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats), as compared to patients on the high-salt diet. The amount of sodium excreted in their urine was also markedly reduced. Overall, the patients on the low-salt diet reported a better health state than the others, with appropriate body weight and levels of thoracic fluid and brain natriuretic peptide, which are two parameters that indicate fluid retention in the body.
“The blood pressure reduction achieved with a low-salt diet was higher than some antihypertensive drugs,” said lead researcher Dr. Eduardo Pimenta. "We were expecting blood pressure reduction with low-salt diet but the reduction was larger than we expected.”