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High-Salt Meals May Immediately Affect Blood Vessel Function

January 12, 2011: 10:37 AM EST

Australian scientists have uncovered evidence linking salt consumption, high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers showed that a high-salt meal affects the ability of blood vessels to widen within 30 minutes after being eaten. Though normal function returned after two hours, researchers are concerned about the potential long-term effects of a high-salt diet, as compromised blood vessel function is believed to lead to thickening of the arterial walls (atherosclerosis). Also, this response is similar to the body’s reaction to a meal high in saturated fats—known to contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

K.M. Dickinson, P.M. Clifton, J.B. Keogh , "Endothelial function is impaired after a high-salt meal in healthy subjects", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 12, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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