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Healthy diets cannot offset damage from eating too much salt, says study

Mirror logo Mirror 2018-03-06 Martin Bagot

An apple a day cannot offset the damage done by eating too much salt in items such as crisps, a study has found.

British researchers have looked at the impact of a high salt diet in people who otherwise ate healthily.

Scientists from Imperial College London found those who ate higher amounts of salt had higher blood pressure - no matter how healthy their overall diet.

The study found that, while healthy foods do tend to lower blood pressure, they do not counteract the damage done by high salt intake (Image: Getty) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc The study found that, while healthy foods do tend to lower blood pressure, they do not counteract the damage done by high salt intake (Image: Getty)

They warn people should monitor their salt intake and food manufacturers should lower the salt content in their products.

High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK.

It increases the risk of a number of conditions including heart attacks and stroke. It is thought to have a number of causes, including age, weight and eating too much salt.

It had been thought the vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables might in some way affect blood vessels, enabling them to lower blood pressure and that eating high amounts of fruit and vegetables might help counteract the effect of high salt on blood pressure.

The study found that, while these foods do tend to lower blood pressure, they do not counteract the damage done by high salt intake.

The study, which is published in the journal Hypertension, analysed the diets of more than 4,000 people from the US, UK, Japan and China using data from the INTERMAP study.

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty

Lead author Dr Queenie Chan, from Imperial College London, said: “We currently have a global epidemic of high salt intake and high blood pressure.

“This research shows there are no cheats when it comes to reducing blood pressure. Having a low salt diet is key even if your diet is otherwise healthy and balanced.

“As a large amount of the salt in our diet comes from processed food, we are urging food manufacturers to take steps to reduce salt in their products.”

The recommended upper limit of adult salt intake in the UK is 6g a day - around one teaspoon.

a pile of fresh fruit and vegetables: Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty The study found that average salt intake across the study was 10.7g a day. The average intake for the UK was 8.5g, while the intake for the USA, China and Japan were 9.6g, 13.4g and 11.7g respectively.

Increasing salt intake above this average amount was linked to an increase in blood pressure. An increase of 7g (1.2 teaspoons) of salt above the average intake was associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure of 3.7 mmHg.

The team assessed participants intake of more than 80 nutrients linked to low blood pressure including vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.

The researchers found a correlation between high blood pressure and higher salt intake, even in people who were eating a high amount of potassium and other nutrients.

They estimated salt intake by analysing sodium in urine samples as well as looking at dietary data as a snapshot over a four day period.

Related: Working Out In The Evenings Has It's Benefits (provided by Wochit News)

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