Almost one in three Germans suffers from high blood pressure. It is considered the number 1 risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. A new study shows how effectively you can lower your blood pressure within a week using a very simple method.

In the video above: Dr. “Heart” reveals how you can lower your blood pressure without medication

A low-salt diet can significantly reduce blood pressure. This even applies to people who are already taking medication to lower blood pressure. This is the result of an American study with 213 participants between the ages of 50 and 75. The blood pressure lowering effect (mean arterial pressure) occurred at approx

and was independent of age, gender, ethnic group, body mass index and diabetes. The team led by Norrina Allen from Northwestern University in Chicago presents their study in the journal “Jama”.

High blood pressure is the leading cause of illness and death worldwide, according to the university. “High blood pressure can lead to heart failure, heart attacks and strokes because it puts extra strain on the arteries,” says Allen. Although it was previously known that the consumption of table salt (sodium chloride) influences blood pressure, there were still open questions about the exact connection.

“We didn’t know whether people already taking blood pressure medication could actually lower their blood pressure more by reducing their sodium levels,” Allen explains.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure on the vessels when the heart beats – i.e. when the heart muscle contracts and pumps blood into the vessels. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure when the heart muscle relaxes – it is lower than systolic blood pressure.

In their research, the study authors primarily determined the amounts of sodium a person consumed. About a quarter of the participants had normal blood pressure, the others had high blood pressure that was either controlled, uncontrolled or untreated. The mean (median) age was 61 years, and 65 percent of the test subjects were female.

The median systolic blood pressure (the higher value when measuring blood pressure) was 125. The median daily sodium intake was

which is well above the value recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The researchers divided the test subjects into two groups: The participants in one group were given a diet first

After a week, the diet plan was changed.

At the end of the first week, the mean systolic blood pressure value in participants on the low-salt diet was

than in the subjects on the high-salt diet. There was no statistically clear connection with the original blood pressure value or the blood pressure status (high pressure, normal pressure).

The second week showed a similar result. The blood pressure of the participants who had now consumed little sodium was average

than with the others.

With the high-salt diet, systolic blood pressure increased only minimally; The researchers suspect a saturation effect here. 9.9 percent of participants reported mild side effects such as headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms and edema.

Most of the participants also tolerated the low-salt diet well. Eight percent reported mild events such as temporary cramps and weakness. “Just as for most people any physical activity is better than none, for most people any sodium reduction from the usual diet is probably better than none when it comes to blood pressure,” says Deepak Gupta of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, lead author of the study .

“In the study, middle-aged to older participants reduced their salt intake by about one teaspoon per day compared to their usual diet,” explains Gupta. The result, a decrease in systolic blood pressure of around 6 millimeters of mercury, is comparable to the effect of a frequently used first-line medication against high blood pressure.

For Markus van der Giet from the Charité Berlin, President of the German Hypertension League since the beginning of the year, the study results come as no surprise: “In everyday clinical practice, it is known that some patients with mild high blood pressure can do without antihypertensive drugs when switching to a low-salt diet.”

In general, however, a low-salt diet cannot replace medication, especially since the daily value of just 0.5 grams of sodium used in the study is very difficult to achieve in everyday life, according to the doctor. Nevertheless, reducing salt is an important measure that high blood pressure patients can easily implement, emphasizes van der Giet.

But why does salt increase blood pressure in the first place? Consuming too much salt causes water to bind in the body. This increases the amount of blood, which in turn increases the pressure in the blood vessels and leads to high blood pressure. In the long term, this can damage organs such as the heart or kidneys – and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

According to the “” portal, many studies show that a low-salt diet demonstrably lowers blood pressure. However, not as quickly as in the American study: “Anyone who has high blood pressure and uses salt more sparingly for at least four weeks can reduce the upper blood pressure value by around 5 mmHg and the lower blood pressure value by around 3 mmHg,” it continues. So that’s less than in the study.

Excessive blood pressure is shown by various symptoms:

In addition to medication, everyone can do something to lower their own blood pressure. Useful measures are:

When it comes to diet, those affected should pay attention to the following: