High salt consumption has long been linked to cardiovascular disease, but it is only now that scientists are learning about some of the mechanisms behind the phenomenon.
An international group of researchers from Germany, Austria and Finland has discovered that under normal physiological conditions excess salt is accumulated in a "storage area" within the skin.
In laboratory tests, they noticed that animals fed a high-salt diet accumulated salt in the interstitium in the skin, a process that is regulated by white blood cells called the macrophages.
They subsequently showed that when these macrophages are depleted or the gene that controls their production is absent, the animals are not able to store salt and become hypertensive, or experience higher blood pressure, a condition which can lead to health complications including stroke.
The study provides yet another piece of evidence of why low-sodium diets are better for long term health.
In addition to dietary regimes and regular exercise, other pressure-lowering natural remedies include nutritional supplements containing fish oil, which may also reduce the risk of heart disease.