Hypertension and nutrition
For treating hypertension, not only a healthy but also low-sodium (low-salt) nutrition is important
If salt intake is reduced from the usual 12-15 g per day to 4-6 g per day, this causes a moderate blood pressure reduction of 10-15mmHg in almost every other hypertensive patient. A pronounced reduction in blood pressure can be achieved through the reduction of salt per day to 3g.
An excessive intake of salt, i.e. sodium chloride and/or 'table salt' is bad for the body. It leads to a constriction of the blood vessels and as such, causes a rise in blood pressure and/causes existing high blood pressure to be increased. Moreover, in the case of certain diseases, e.g. heart failure, kidney and liver diseases, salt is very difficult to remove from the body, and this means that it may increase the effects of the disease.
Apart from sodium or salt intake in isolation, the ratio of sodium to potassium plays an especially important role. The positive effect of a potassium-rich diet is due to an increased sodium and water excretion by the kidney. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables also leads to lower blood pressure.
Cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish and vegetable oils have been proven to reduce levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
However, it should be noted that the reduction of salt and a change in diet only brings about real health benefits if it is accompanied by other measures: a reduction in weight, limited alcohol consumption, increased physical activity and the reduction of chronic stress which is harmful with respect to blood pressure.