Study reveals: Low-salt diet lowers blood pressure within a week


An experimental study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville shows that a low-salt diet can lower blood pressure in middle-aged people within just one week.

The study showed positive results regardless of existing hypertension, medication or normal blood pressure. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association and published in JAMA.


  • Excessive salt intake is a major cause of hypertension, with sodium in table salt being crucial.
  • A week of low-salt diet showed positive effects in 213 participants, regardless of their initial blood pressure status.
  • Most participants consumed 4.45 grams of sodium daily at baseline, while the WHO recommends less than two grams.
  • In the low-salt week, participants received 2 small sachets of sodium containing 1,100 mg daily, while in the other week a special diet containing 500 mg sodium and 4,500 mg potassium was used.
  • Urinary sodium excretion decreased to 1.27 grams in the low-salt week and increased to 5.00 grams in the high-sodium week.
  • Immediate effect on blood pressure: systolic blood pressure was 8 mm Hg higher in the high-sodium week and diastolic blood pressure was 3 mm Hg higher.
  • In 73.4 % of the participants, an increase in systolic blood pressure was demonstrated by the high-sodium diet, in 46 % the increase was more than 5 mm Hg.
  • A few participants showed "inverse" salt sensitivity, in which high salt consumption lowered blood pressure.
The groundbreaking study highlights the impressive effects of a low-salt diet on blood pressure within just one week. The findings are particularly significant as they apply regardless of previous blood pressure status and medication use. The research suggests that reducing salt consumption can be an effective measure to promote heart health.

Based on the results of the study, it is advisable to reconsider daily salt consumption and aim for a more conscious diet. Here are some practical tips:

  • Use less salt in cooking: use less salt when cooking and instead rely on herbs and spices to intensify the flavor.
  • Give preference to fresh foods: Prioritize fresh, unprocessed foods in your diet. These naturally contain less sodium.
  • Read food labels: Pay attention to sodium levels in packaged foods and choose products with low salt content.
  • Homemade snacks: Prepare snacks yourself to keep control of the ingredients and salt content.
  • Potassium-rich alternatives: Incorporate potassium-rich foods such as bananas, spinach and potatoes to support the positive effect on blood pressure.
The results of this study emphasize the importance of a balanced diet and the potential health benefits of reducing salt intake.

Source:[JAMA 2023; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2023.2365]; Gupta DK, Lewis CE, Varady KA, et al. Effect of Dietary Sodium on Blood Pressure: A Crossover Trial. JAMA. Published online November 11, 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.23651
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