Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally: Study Shows Diet Changes as Effective as Medication

If you want to lower your blood pressure, you may find that reducing salt in your diet can be as effective as taking a common blood pressure medication, according to new research published in JAMA.

The study focused on 213 participants aged 50 to 75, including those with and without existing blood pressure issues. It compared high-sodium diets (approximately 2200 mg of added sodium daily) and low-sodium diets (about 500 mg of sodium daily) to the participants’ usual diets. After one week of a low-sodium diet, participants saw an average 8 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure compared to a high-sodium diet.

“The low-sodium diet lowered systolic blood pressure in nearly 75% of individuals compared with the high-sodium diet,” wrote the authors, highlighting that the results were consistent across subgroups and had no excess adverse events.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a “silent killer” and can increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, chronic kidney disease, and other serious conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hypertension contributed to more than 691,000 deaths in the United States in 2021.

According to the CDC, nearly half of adults have hypertension, but only about 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have it under control. It’s important to note that salt isn’t the only dietary factor that may affect blood pressure. Research published earlier this year in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension suggests that routinely drinking alcohol may also be associated with an increase in blood pressure readings, even in adults without hypertension.


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