High Blood Pressure Question: How Much Salt Can You Eat?
I’ve heard that you shouldn’t eat salt if you have high blood pressure. Is that true?
A lot of people assume that if they have high blood pressure, they need to cut all salt out of their diet. I would argue that they certainly need to reduce the amount of salt they consume, but they should guard against eliminating it entirely.
The reason you shouldn’t cut salt out altogether is that you need a minimum amount of sodium in your system to maintain proper electrolyte balance. This is true regardless of your blood pressure level. If you have high blood pressure, I would recommend limiting your salt intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day, but I wouldn’t let it fall below about 500 mg a day. Get more details on salt intake and high blood pressure. Also, learn how to achieve the proper sodium-potassium balance to manage high blood pressure.
Keep in mind that most of the salt we eat is hidden in processed foods like canned spaghetti sauces, dill pickles, soups, nuts, and sauerkraut, to mention a few. (See my complete list of the top salt-heavy foods.) Many fast food restaurant offerings are also high in salt, containing enough that you can easily surpass the healthy limit for salt intake with just one meal. This “hidden salt” is a real problem for those trying to lower blood pressure, so read labels carefully.
WATCH: The High Risk of Eating Processed Foods If You Have High Blood Pressure
Learn More From Dr. Sinatra
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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