Should hypertensive patients avoid salt?
Our body controls the blood pressure in our arteries using a complex system of regulators, including our heart, kidneys, enzymes, hormones and nervous system.
Our blood pressure always adjusts based on activity level, stress level, time of day and even body position. Lifestyle factors such as alcohol, caffeine, food, smoking and stress can alter blood pressure.
Salt retains water, which can lead to vasoconstriction and blood pressure fluctuations. Salty foods, smoked meats, chips, salty cheeses, and canned foods should be excluded from your diet. Even a tiny decrease in salt consumption can help lower blood pressure by 2 to 8 mmHg.
Salt sensitivitySome people are more sensitive to salt than others. In some people, too much salt causes an increase in blood pressure, and in others, there will be no significant change. If you have high blood pressure, reducing your salt intake may help.
How much salt can I eat a day?
You need about 500 milligrams of salt each day. Most people consume about 10 times that amount each day.
Salt traps fluid in the body and thus increases blood pressure. Reducing salt intake to 5 grams per day has been shown to reduce blood pressure by 10 millimeters of mercury, which is comparable to the effect after taking some antihypertensive medications.
Reducing salt intake
Processed foods use salt as an additive. Processed foods account for almost 80% of the average person's daily salt intake. Pizza and other multi-ingredient dishes account for almost half of the sodium Americans consume.
Eating mostly only natural foods and limiting your intake of table salt will reduce the salt content in your diet. Avoid condiments, salty pickles, ham, bacon, cheese, mixed meats, olives, broths, anything canned or processed.
You need to check the sodium content on food labels and think twice about anything with more than 100 mg per serving.
Watch our video on how to lower your blood pressure at home. And don't forget to check your blood pressure regularly. Stay healthy!