People with high blood pressure often have a 'salt tooth'

May 16, 2014 by Alan Mozes, Healthday Reporter
People with high blood pressure often have a 'Salt tooth'
Small new study suggests that some may have an unhealthy preference for saltier food.

(HealthDay)—High salt intake is a known risk factor for high blood pressure and stroke, so experts say it's concerning that a new study finds people with high blood pressure tend to prefer saltier foods.

The findings from this small, preliminary trial do suggest that people with raised blood pressure are often "salt-seeking," said Dr. William White, current president of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH).

But the study also offers these people a tasty alternative, "by adding nonsalt spices to food," White said. He added that "it is important to know that alternative spices could reduce sodium [salt] intake and potentially ."

The findings are scheduled for presentation Friday in New York City at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension.

Experts from ASH note that is commonly referred to as the "silent killer," because the condition often doesn't have obvious symptoms and patients don't know they have a problem.

However, approximately one billion people have high blood pressure worldwide, including one in three American adults, according to ASH.

In the study, a team led by Patricia Villela from the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil focused on 118 people divided into four groups. Two groups included men and women in their 30s with or without high blood pressure, while another two groups included older people in their 70s, either with or without high blood pressure.

All participants were initially offered three different French bread options. Each contained a different amount of added salt—some breads were much saltier than others.

Investigators observed that none of the healthy participants—those without high blood pressure concerns—showed a preference for the highly salted bread. Instead, the older healthy group preferred "medium salty" bread and the younger healthy group went for the "lightly salted" option.

By contrast, people with high blood pressure in both age groups favored the "highly salted" bread option.

During a second phase of the experiment, conducted two weeks later, all the participants were again randomly offered the same three bread and salt combinations. However, in this case all the breads were also seasoned with oregano. Oregano, the authors noted, is a naturally salt-free spice.

The result: this time around all four groups showed at least some shift in preference, choosing breads that were less salty than their previous choices.

The study team concluded that high blood pressure patients do seem to have a taste for saltier foods. However, they believe such preferences can be overcome by seasoning foods with nonsalt alternatives such as oregano.

Studies presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. And Dr. Domenic Sica, ASH's new president-elect, cautioned that "further research is needed" before being able to come to a definitive conclusion about salt preferences among people with high .

"This trial did not set out to determine if there is cause and effect," he noted. "At this time, it's simply an association that needs to be further clarified in larger studies, with a more rigorous trial design."

But Sica said the study does raise the interesting notion that "there may be an acquired tendency [or trait towards] a desire for more salt." He believes that "future research might guide us in better understanding how to better retrain 'food preferences,' as in the case of a high-salt taste preference."

Explore further: ASH: People with hypertension prefer higher salt taste

More information: For more on salt and high blood pressure, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Related Stories

ASH: People with hypertension prefer higher salt taste

May 16, 2013
(HealthDay)—People with hypertension have a taste for more salt in their food than do individuals with normotension, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, held from ...

Blood pressure drugs help keep heart trouble at bay, FDA says

May 6, 2014
(HealthDay)—High blood pressure affects about one-third of American adults and raises their risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and death, but there are many medications available to lower blood ...

Bread, cereal drive UK children's high salt diet

March 10, 2014
Children in London eat an unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis—with much of it coming from breads and cereals, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

New research shows what raises and lowers blood pressure: Cell phones, salt and saying om

May 15, 2013
Considered the "silent killer," high blood pressure affects approximately one billion people worldwide, including one in three adults in the United States. From May 15 – 18, 2013, members of the medical community from across ...

Spices and herbs intervention helps adults reduce salt intake

March 19, 2014
Teaching people how to flavor food with spices and herbs is considerably more effective at lowering salt intake than having them do it on their own, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology ...

Recommended for you

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

August 14, 2017
Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative ...

Study hints at experimental therapy for heart fibrosis

August 14, 2017
Researchers report encouraging preclinical results as they pursue elusive therapeutic strategies to repair scarred and poorly functioning heart tissues after cardiac injury—describing an experimental molecular treatment ...

Scientists identify mutations in venous valve disease

August 14, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered that mutations in the genes FOXC2 and GJC2 are associated with defects in venous valves, flaps within veins that help maintain proper blood flow.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.