When it comes to controlling blood pressure, dietary sodium plays a more significant role than other nutrients, according to an international study published in Hypertension. This research confirms the importance of cutting your consumption of salty foods – especially processed foods, which make up about three-quarters of the sodium intake in the typical American diet.
For the study, researchers at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and the Imperial College of London in the United Kingdom examined data on sodium and 80 other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and amino acids, as they relate to blood pressure in more than 4,600 men and women involved in the INTERMAP study. Study participants were between ages 40 and 59 and were from Japan, China, the U.K., and the United States.
The researchers measured sodium and potassium levels in urine samples and determined that other dietary nutrients do not reduce the detrimental effects of sodium. The American Heart Association is working with food industry leaders and government agencies to develop a campaign to lower sodium in the processed food supply.