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Cutting even 1 teaspoon of salt from the typical American diet each day can lower blood pressure just as much as hypertension medication can, even for those who don’t have high blood pressure (BP), a new JAMA study found. Just 1 week of a low-sodium diet resulted in an average 8mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure vs a high-sodium diet. The study assigned 213 people ages 50 to 75 to either a high- or low-sodium diet. After eating that diet for 7 days, each subject then switched to the alternate diet. Compared with the high-sodium diet, the low-sodium diet resulted in a decline in mean arterial pressure in 73.4% of individuals. The mean systolic BP difference when the participants were compared was similar across subgroups by age, sex, race, baseline BP, diabetes, and body mass index. Additionally, the study found people who are already on blood pressure medication can lower their blood pressure even more by limiting sodium. 

That turkey dinner is really tempting: The Dietary Guidelines from the FDA recommend adults limit sodium intake to 1 teaspoon of table salt per day, which is about 2,300 mg. But most American adults consume nearly 40% more than what’s recommended, leading to hypertension and other negative health effects. For children under 14 years old, recommended sodium limits are even less.

Low-Sodium Diet Proves a Good Choice Once Again