Salt and High Blood Pressure

Research shows that high blood pressure and salt may go hand in hand. This is because salt can make blood vessels and body tissues become swollen. This puts an extra strain on your heart and can increase blood pressure. Reducing salt intake can reduce blood pressure by an amount similar to that seen with blood pressure medication.

Salt and High Blood Pressure: An Overview

Lowering blood pressure may require many lifestyle changes, including changes to what you take into your body. One such ingredient is salt. Salt and high blood pressure go hand in hand, because salt can make your blood vessels and body tissues swell and fill with fluid. This puts an extra strain on your heart and can increase blood pressure.
 
The good news is that recent research has shown that by reducing salt in your diet, you can lower your blood pressure. In fact, with a certain high blood pressure diet called the DASH diet and reducing salt intake, blood pressure can be reduced by an amount similar to that seen with blood pressure medicine.
 

High Blood Pressure and Salt: The Numbers

A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Most Americans consume more salt than they should -- an average of 3,300 milligrams per day (about 1.5 teaspoons). The current recommendation is to consume less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. This includes all salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table.
 
For people with high blood pressure, African Americans, and middle-aged and older adults, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets with only 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure-lowering benefits. These lower-sodium diets also can keep blood pressure from rising and help blood pressure medicines work better.
 
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