1. ITV Report

Healthy diets 'don't offset effects of eating salt', say London researchers

Having a healthy diet does not offset the effects of eating larger amounts of salt, research has found.

A study involving scientists from Imperial College London found those who ate higher amounts of salt had higher blood pressure - no matter how healthy their overall diet.

They warned their findings suggest people should monitor their salt intake, while food manufacturers should lower the salt content in their products.

High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK, and increases the risk of a number of conditions including heart attacks and stroke. It is thought to have a number of causes, including age, weight and eating too much salt.

It was thought the vitamins and minerals in fruit and vegetables might in some way affect blood vessels, enabling them to lower blood pressure, and that eating high amounts of fruit and vegetables might help counteract the effect of high salt on blood pressure.

However, while these foods do tend to lower blood pressure, the new research suggests they do not counteract the adverse influence of salt intake.

We currently have a global epidemic of high salt intake - and high blood pressure.

This research shows there are no cheats when it comes to reducing blood pressure. Having a low salt diet is key - even if your diet is otherwise healthy and balanced.

As a large amount of the salt in our diet comes from processed food, we are urging food manufacturers to take steps to reduce salt in their products.

– Dr Queenie Chan, Imperial College London's School of Public Health

Scientists acknowledged that because the data was collected over only four days, it provides information from a snapshot of time. They said they now hope to focus on longer term studies involving a greater number of people.