Salt is central to the Mediterranean diet – olives can only be consumed if they’re soaked in brine for weeks.
The diet is so healthy that the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) used it as a model in its famous DASH Study (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which confirmed that the Mediterranean/DASH diet was healthier than the typical American diet and effectively reduced blood pressure.
NHLBI then repeated the study to check the effect of salt. The new DASH-Sodium trial again demonstrated that the DASH diet could reduce blood pressure. Compared to an American diet, DASH showed a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure.
Cutting one-third of the salt dramatically reduces the palatability of the Mediterranean diet and makes it much less desirable for most people, while cutting two-thirds of the salt makes the diet completely unacceptable. The net consequence of such a strategy will be far fewer people consuming the diet and enjoying its critical health benefits.
For more information on salt and health go to www.salthealth.org.