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Salt may not be as bad as we think

The controversy surrounding so much of the health advice we are given just seems to grow all the time and it is quite worrying.

The latest is a report of a new study published in the respected American Journal of Hypertension that indicates that there is no clear link between salt and high blood pressure.

This really does contradict the advice so many have been given in recent years and warnings still being given out by many august bodies that we should be really careful about the amount of salt we eat.

The American Journal of Hypertension reported that the researchers in this new study took data from 8,670 French adults, both men and women, and studied the relationships between diet and blood pressure. None of the people involved in the research received medication for hypertension during the study.

The study found that salt intake has no link with the development of systolic blood pressure. Interestingly, however, the researchers did find that people who were already suffering from hypertension ate more salt than those without the condition.

Their findings indicate that the relationship between salt and blood pressure is more complex that originally thought and also that salt effects people in different ways.

The researchers found there were other lifestyle factors involved in the impact of systolic blood pressure levels, and the most important of all was the BMI, or body mass index.

The authors said stopping weight increase should be the first target to counteract hypertension.

They also found alcohol intake was also involved with blood pressure in both men and women and also that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables significantly lowered blood pressure. Interestingly, increased physical activity showed no noticeable effect.

Hypertension is the most common chronic disease. In the UK around a third of the population are thought to suffer from high blood pressure. Because it has no obvious symptoms, high blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The only way to check your blood pressure is to have it accurately measured and of course also take your own doctor’s advice on your salt intake.

In April 2009 Laterlife published a background story on salt - put salt in our search box top right and, as with all our information articles, it is still available to be read.

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