Salt and High Blood Pressure

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Filed Under: Blood Pressure Webinar, Q&As, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

Salt and High Blood Pressure

I’ve heard that there is a connection between eating salt and high blood pressure. Is that true?

A lot of people assume that if they have high blood pressure levels, 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 levels, 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 intake of salt and high blood pressure. Also, learn how to achieve the proper sodium-potassium balance to manage high blood pressure levels.

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 high blood pressure levels, so read labels carefully.

WATCH: The High Risk of Eating Processed Foods if You Have High Blood Pressure Levels

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