It doesn’t take much. Avoid adding salt or substituting it to counteract hypertension. And for those who already have high blood pressure, this advice can become dogma. Thanks to the replacement of the classic sodium chloride with potassium chloride, we can expect a drop of almost 5 millimeters of mercury for the maximum and more than 1.5 for the minimum. It seems little, but it counts.
The risk of premature death decreases (by 10%)
Some studies show that thanks to this simple measure the risk of premature death decreases by more than 10%. To take stock of the situation, even if delving into a real jungle of clinical studies published until the summer of last year, is a research that appears on Heart (author of reference Maoyi Tian, Harbin University in China and the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney), which examined 21 different studies involving nearly 30,000 people. Investigations were conducted in Europe, the Western Pacific region, the Americas and Southeast Asia.
Results applicable to everyone
The effect of salt substitutes in which a proportion of sodium chloride is replaced with potassium chloride has long been known, they help to lower the pressure. Suffice it to say that only a short time ago the SSaSS study (Salt Substitute and Stroke Study) found clearly how salt substitutes help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and premature death. Research published on Heart adds an important element and aims to understand how much and how a salt substitute can affect these aspects on the basis of observations conducted all over the world.
The different studies considered have examined the effects of this “substitute” approach to salt for different times, from one month to five years. The proportion of sodium chloride in the salt substitutes ranged from 33% to 75%; the proportion of potassium ranged from 25 to 65%. Analysis of the pooled data showed that the salt substitutes had a hypotensive action in all participants. The overall reduction in systolic blood pressure was 4.61 millimeters of mercury and that of diastolic blood pressure was 1.61 millimeters of mercury. The effect was shown in different populations and was independent of age, gender, any history of hypertension, weight and urine sodium and potassium values at the start of the study.
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How much protects replace the salt
It has been seen that a 10% decrease in sodium chloride in the salt substitute is on average associated with a decrease of more than 1.53 mm of mercury in the maximum and 0.95 in the minimum, without the increase in potassium being associated with Health problems. But that’s not enough. A pooled analysis of the results of five of these studies involving more than 24,000 participants showed that salt substitutes reduced risks 11% premature death from any cause, 13% cardiovascular disease and 11% risk of heart attack or stroke. In short: the meta-analysis confirms the results of the SSaSS, which represents the most extensive research to date on a potassium-enriched salt substitute. The study also offers a number of recommendations that we must make our own. In addition to the consumption of low sodium salt.
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More fruit and vegetables as a countermeasure
“The average Italian does not even realize how much his daily diet has changed in the last hundred years, generally for the worse – he comments. Claudio Ferri, full professor of Internal Medicine at the University of L’Aquila. A fundamental one is related to the progressive decrease in the daily intake of potassium – almost exclusively due to the increasingly reduced intake of fruit and vegetables and, to a lesser extent, to the quality of today’s fruit and vegetables – and to the simultaneous increase in sodium chloride intake. , present in foods both as a voluntary addition and known during home preparation, and as an addition of sodium, not known to the user, carried out during the preparation of foods such as tomato sauce, sausages, sweet biscuits, etc. “.
The salt has replaced the spices
This, in addition to clearly impoverishing the palatability of food – sodium chloride has now almost completely replaced aromas and spices previously abundant in our kitchens, has an enormous cost in terms of increased blood pressure and, therefore, mortality from cardiovascular diseases. . But what could change if we pay more attention. “Just as an example, a recent evaluation applied to India, a country populated by 1 billion and 300,000 individuals, appeared on Hypertension, has calculated at least 214,000 the number of avoidable deaths by reshaping the daily intake of sodium and potassium, with a peak equal to 52,000 in the nephropathic population (28 million Indians) – recalls Ferri. Therefore, although the staunch defenders of table salt are always very lively, it is time to stop the controversy and change our eating habits “.
Do not add salt in the kitchen
What to do? “Do not add table salt to foods during preparation, use types of table salt that contain less sodium or have added potassium salts, replace table salt with aromas and spicesof which Italian cuisine was once very rich and, finally, “obliged” to start and accompany each meal with greenery and finish it with fruit – concludes the expert “.
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