Low Sodium Diets - Myth or Healthful Recommendation?

A new study finds that low sodium diets may not have the beneficial effect on health that previously thought. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends restricting sodium to 2,300mg for healthy Americans. However, an article in Science Daily reveals that higher levels of sodium intake, similar to the range consumed by most Americans, may be more beneficial to health. 

The researchers followed more than 2,500 men and women ages 30 to 64 years old for 16 years. These participants had normal blood pressure at the beginning of the study. The "researchers found that the study participants who consumed less than 2500 milligrams of sodium a day had higher blood pressure than participants who consumed higher amounts of sodium" states Science Daily. In addition, the people who had higher intakes of potassium, calcium and magnesium had lower blood pressure over the long term.

The good news is there is a lot of overlap in the food sources of these nutrients. Potassium is found in raw, roasted and lightly steamed fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and beans. Dairy, green leafy vegetables, almonds, some fortified foods (orange juice, cereal), and some fish (salmon, sardines, trout) contain Calcium. Magnesium is in nuts and seeds, oatmeal, broccoli, leafy greens, and beans. Another reason we should eat more plant foods...they are good for blood pressure regulation!

Citation:  Experimental Biology 2017. "Low-sodium diet might not lower blood pressure: Findings from large, 16-year study contradict sodium limits in Dietary Guidelines for Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2017.