Author Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.
Recent “feeding studies” in a highly selected population of participants who are prehypertensive and stage 1 hypertensive have demonstrated that a diet modestly reduced in salt content coupled with an increase in fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension [DASH] diet) could lower blood pressure.1 Such a diet, with increased potassium, calcium, and magnesium content in addition to the reduced sodium intake, provided confirmation of earlier studies that had focused on a single mineral component and had indicated that reducing sodium intake or increasing potassium intake, and less consistently, increasing calcium intake, could lower blood pressure. A subsequent study testing the effect of 3 levels of sodium intake (usual, modestly reduced, and greatly reduced) with the DASH diet provided evidence of a graded influence of dietary salt restriction on blood pressure.2
Weinberger MH. More Novel Effects of Diet on Blood Pressure and Lipids. JAMA. 2005;294(19):2497-2498. doi:10.1001/jama.294.19.2497