控盐不力?吃些辣! 辛辣食物可降低盐摄取量和血压
2017/11/02
如何控制盐摄取量?第三军医大学的祝之明教授给出了新招:在食物中添加辣味,能够控制大脑对咸味的贪恋,从而减少盐的消耗、控制血压。相关研究成果发表在《Hypertension》期刊。


众所周知,消耗过多的盐会上调血压,从而增加2型糖尿病、心血管疾病的风险。世界卫生组织(WHO)曾提议,为规避慢性疾病,我们应该降低30%的盐摄取量。同时,对于烟草也应该降低同样的比例。但是,减少盐摄取量并不仅仅是自控力的事,大脑自有一套神经系统负责对盐的渴望。

祝之明教授长期专注于高血压研究,曾因“辣椒素控制高血压,有效改善代谢性血管病”的原创性成果而荣获2014年年度国家自然科学二等奖。他们发现,辣椒素可增加血管的蛋白激酶A和一氧化氮合酶磷酸化水平,长期的辣椒素饮食干预,能明显改善内皮依赖的血管舒张功能,从而得出“辣椒素降低血压”的结论。

现在,他们再次在“辣”味上做出新成绩,证实辛辣食物可以“欺骗”大脑,使其不再贪恋咸的食物,从而减少对盐的摄取量、控制血压。

辛辣食物降低对盐的偏好

之前已有研究表明,辣味能够增加食物的咸味。“我们想知道,这一效果是否可以降低盐的摄取量。” 祝之明解释道。

带着这样的目的,祝之明团队对606名成年人进行了相关多中心、随机、双盲观察和介入研究。他们分析了参与者对辣、咸两种口味的喜好,发现偏好辣味的人对盐的摄取量明显少于那些不喜辛辣的人。

此外,相比于偏爱咸味的人,那些喜欢吃辣的人的收缩压平均低8mmHg,舒张压平均低5mmHg。


祝之明教授(图片来源:网络)

辣椒素控制血压

为了检测辛辣食物对大脑的影响,祝之明和团队给参与者服用辣椒素,并借助大脑成像技术检测大脑活动。他们发现,辛辣会刺激与咸味相同的大脑区域——眼窝前额皮质(orbitofrontal cortex)和岛叶(insula)。

总而言之,摄取辛辣食物会改变大脑处理咸味的神经通路,从而降低对盐的摄取量,控制血压。研究人员认为,辣味有望成为一种控制高盐摄取、血压的潜在性干预措施。

“如果在烹饪过程中,添加一些辛辣香料,可以在不过多加盐的前提下做出美味的食物。”祝之明强调道,这一研究样本仅限于中国人口,对于其他国家和地区的人而言依然需要更多的研究。

参考资料:

Need to cut down on salt? Try something spicy instead

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  • Enjoyment of Spicy Flavor Enhances Central Salty-Taste Perception and Reduces Salt Intake and Blood Pressure

    High salt intake is a major risk factor for hypertension and is associated with cardiovascular events. Most countries exhibit a traditionally high salt intake; thus, identification of an optimal strategy for salt reduction at the population level may have a major impact on public health. In this multicenter, random-order, double-blind observational and interventional study, subjects with a high spice preference had a lower salt intake and blood pressure than subjects who disliked spicy food. The enjoyment of spicy flavor enhanced salt sensitivity and reduced salt preference. Salt intake and salt preference were related to the regional metabolic activity in the insula and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) of participants. Administration of capsaicin—the major spicy component of chili pepper—enhanced the insula and OFC metabolic activity in response to high-salt stimuli, which reversed the salt intensity–dependent differences in the metabolism of the insula and OFC. In animal study, OFC activity was closely associated with salt preference, and salty-taste information processed in the OFC was affected in the presence of capsaicin. Thus, interventions related to this region may alter the salt preference in mice through fiber fluorometry and optogenetic techniques. In conclusion, enjoyment of spicy foods may significantly reduce individual salt preference, daily salt intake, and blood pressure by modifying the neural processing of salty taste in the brain. Application of spicy flavor may be a promising behavioral intervention for reducing high salt intake and blood pressure.

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