They followed up participants from two trials completed in the 1990s which had analysed the effect on blood pressure of reducing salt in the diet.
All participants had pre-hypertension. In both trials, involving more than 3,000 people, the participants reduced their sodium intake by between 25 per cent and 35 per cent.
These pre-hypertensive individuals were 25 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular problems over the course of the 10-15 years post-trial. There was also a 20 per cent lower mortality rate. The authors say this is the first and only study of sufficient size and duration to assess the effects of a low salt diet on cardiovascular problems based on randomised trial data (BMJ Online First).