High salt diet linked to high blood pressure and associated headaches.

salt1A new study has confirmed that a high salt diet is associated with the headaches caused by high blood pressure. The findings published by the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, revealed that 46% of adults on a global basis have an active headache disorder.

The participants consisted of 390 study participants to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, (a diet rich in fruits, and low-fat dairy products with reduced saturated and total fat); or to a control diet that was a typical Western diet.

The study consisted of three 30-day periods, where participants ate food with high sodium during one period, intermediate sodium during another and low sodium during another period. Then, at the end of each feeding period, the participants completed questionnaires on occurrence and severity of headache.

The findings reflect that people who ate foods high in sodium, around 8 g per day, had one third more headaches than those who ate foods low in sodium consisting of 4 g per day. Additionally, the researchers observed that this difference remained whether the volunteers ate the standard Western diet or the DASH diet.

The researchers noted that many U.S. individuals consumed sodium in excess of their physiological need, with the resulting adverse health impact.


Effects of dietary sodium and the DASH diet on the occurrence of headaches: results from randomised multicentre DASH-Sodium clinical trial, Lawrence Appel, et al., BMJ Open, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006671, published 11 December 2014.

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