24/03/2011 08:34 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Love Salty Food? Then Do More Exercise

Problem: you know eating too much salt isn't good for you, but you can't resist smoky bacon, pretzels and other salty snacks (and if you don't add salt to your meals, everything tastes bland). Solution: get active.

Pretzels are a high-salt food. Photo: Getty, Stockdisc

Most of us realise that eating too much salt could increase our risk for high blood pressure, which in turn puts us at risk for heart problems. But US researchers who have just presented a study at a meeting of the American Heart Association claim the more exercise you do, the less of an effect salt may have on your blood pressure.

The experts from the Tulane School of Medicine in Louisiana examined the records of nearly 2,000 adults who had taken part in an experiment which involved switching from a low-salt to a high-salt diet.

Those who claimed to be the least active had an average increase in blood pressure of 5.27mmHg (millimetres of mercury) when they went from the low-salt to the high-salt diet. But those who were the most active saw a smaller rise in their blood pressure at 3.88mmHg.

And that, say the researchers, suggests people who exercise frequently have a 38% lower risk of being sensitive to a high-salt diet compared to those who didn't do any exercise.

The study was, however, carried out in China, so the researchers admit they can't guarantee whether or not the results would be the same in people from the West.

But it may be worth trying to get more exercise if you do tend to eat too much salt.

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