Can Diet Lower Blood Pressure as Much as Medication?

Maybe your dish doesn’t need more salt. Cutting out a teaspoon of salt from a diet everyday can lower blood pressure as much as most hypertension medications, a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. A low-sodium diet lowered systolic blood pressure in nearly 75% of the 213 people who participated in the allocated diet order crossover study. Unlike with the high-sodium diet, just one week of the low-sodium diet dropped 8 millimeters of mercury in systolic blood pressure. 

The study assigned the participants, ages 50 to 75, one week of either a high- or low-sodium diet before switching to the other. During the high-sodium week they consumed two bouillon packets with 1,100 milligrams of sodium along with their normal diet. While on the low-sodium week, they strictly ate low sodium foods provided by dietitians to average just 500 milligrams of salt a day. The study analyzed the results of individuals with the following blood pressures:

  • 25% with normal blood pressure
  • 25% with untreated hypertension 
  • 20% whose blood pressure was under control
  • 31% whose blood pressure was not under control

Excerpted from USA Today

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