Doctors often recommend that people with hypertension reduce their salt intake. In a new study, researchers reported that eating a high-salt meal can negatively affect other aspects of the cardiovascular system.
Kacie M. Dickinson, PhD, of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), investigated the responses of 16 healthy men and women to low- and high-salt meals. None of the subjects had hypertension.
The subjects were given meals on two different occasions. The low-salt meal contained 130 mg of sodium, whereas the high-salt meal contained 1,494 mg of sodium, which Dickinson described as the amount of sodium in a “commonly eaten meal.”
Although the high-salt meal did not increase blood pressure, it did lead to a deterioration of “endothelial function,” or blood vessel tone, 30 minutes after the meal. Poorer endothelial function is characterized by a stiffening of blood vessels and reduced blood flow, which may be factors leading up to hypertension.
Reference: Dickinson KM, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. Endothelial function is impaired after a high-salt meal in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2011: doi 10.3945/ajcn.110.006155.