There continues a myth that originated in the 1940s when a professor used salt-reduction to treat people with high blood pressure. Science has since found out that there is no reason for a person with normal blood pressure to restrict salt intake.
Decades of scientific research have failed to prove any benefits of
a low-salt diet, and in fact tend to show the opposite. Studies have
also failed to prove salt's connection to heart disease.
Salt is essential for life. Natural salt is important to many
biological processes, including:
Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid,
extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid; Carrying nutrients
into and out of your cells; Increasing the glial cells in your
brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term
planning; and helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so
that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange.
A Scottish Heart Health Study, was launched in 1984 by
epidemiologist Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe and colleagues at the Ninewells
Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland. The researchers
used questionnaires, physical exams, and 24-hour urine samples to
establish the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 7300
Scottish men. This was an order of magnitude larger than any
intrapopulation study ever done with 24-hour urine samples. The BMJ
published the results in 1988: Potassium, which is in fruits and
vegetables, seemed to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
Sodium had no effect.
A review published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association. University of Copenhagen researchers analyzed 114
randomized trials of sodium reduction, concluding that the benefit
for hypertensives was significantly smaller than could be achieved
by anti-hypertensive drugs, and that a "measurable" benefit in
individuals with normal blood pressure of even a single millimeter
of mercury could only be achieved with an "extreme" reduction in
Recent studies, including those cited by Harvard University at St.
George’s Medical School in London, have shown that potassium rich
foods are an essential defense in helping to relieve high blood
pressure. Potassium is an essential mineral that enables the body to
maintain a healthy fluid and electrolyte balance, while also
promoting optimal nerve and muscle functions.
If a person has high blood pressure he or she may become
salt-sensitive. Hypertension is actually promoted more by excess
fructose than excess salt. This can be relieved by reducing salt
intake or increasing potassium intake, because it is the balance of
the two that is important. Eating more potassium is probably more
important than reducing salt.
Potassium is found in orange colored fruits and vegetables,
including pumpkins, carrots, and apricots. Tomatoes and bananas are
another source of high potassium. It is also found in artichokes,
avocados, broccoli, dark chocolate, spinach, potatoes, yogurt, fish,
and and a variety of beans.