Relation of Dietary Sodium (Salt) to Blood Pressure and Its Possible Modulation by Other Dietary Factors: The INTERMAP Study
A new study has analysed data from the International Study on Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), and has found that a healthy diet cannot offset the effects of a high salt intake.
The INTERMAP study involved 4680 men and women aged 40-59 years from the UK, USA, China and Japan. Researchers assessed sodium and potassium levels in participants' urine, along with their intake of around 80 nutrients, including fibre, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.
The researchers found, similar to other high quality studies, that high salt intake leads to high blood pressure. However the researcehrs also found that, regardless of other nutrients consumed (including potassium), blood pressure remained high if salt intake was high.
Mhairi Brown, Nutritionist at WASH and Action on Salt, said: "This robust and extremely well conducted study demonstrates once again the overwhelming importance of reducing our salt intake to stop the devastating effects that high blood pressure has on our health, causing strokes and heart disease – the biggest cause of death in the UK. By reducing our reliance on processed food, we can lower the amount of salt we eat, as well as increasing our intake of healthier nutrients. We shouldn’t overlook the importance of increasing the amount of potassium we eat, from fruits and vegetables, to protect our general health."