Salt Slashes Blood Pressure-Lowering Enzyme

It’s drummed into our heads. Salt bad, salt bad, salt bad. But why! A new study in the Journal of Nutrition claims salt decreases levels of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS signals nearby muscles to relax, which improves blood flow and reduces high blood pressure. First, using bovine cells, scientists observed a decrease in NOS activity with an increase in salt concentration and similar results were observed using Chinese hamster ovary cells; Food Navigator reports.

A previous study showed obese people following a low-salt diet for two weeks had improved flow-mediated dilation, i.e. blood vessels ability to relax, and in the United States, cutting salt by just 1 gram could lower the number of new heart disease cases by 250,000.

In addition to heart-risks, Dr. Fuhrman explains eating too much salt over-stimulates taste buds resulting in an inability to detect subtle flavors in food, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables.

Image credit: Krista76

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Steve - March 24, 2009 10:01 AM

Hi Gerry
After cutting back my own salt intake, I notice that salt doesn't 'blend' with other flavours like it used to. I taste the veggies in the soup, and the salt kind of on its own.

Cheers, Steve

Heidi - March 24, 2009 11:44 AM

Steve - I second that. Left kind of an salty aftertaste in the cracked wheat when my husband cooked it and put salt in, didn't do much for the cereal to my taste.

Heidi

john polifronio - March 25, 2009 8:52 AM

It's a shame we can't obtain information about the "individual's" tolerance for salt, inasmuch as salt is as important, even an indispensible taste for most people. I understand that people are often "salt sensitive," but it would help if there were tests able to show the extent to which this sensitivity varies from individual to individual.

Sara - March 26, 2009 11:28 PM

Salt is not healthy for anyone,beyond the amount naturally existing in plant foods. Tastes do change.

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