Do You Need to Limit Salt to Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro December 17, 2012
  • Do you need to worry about how much salt you consume in your diet? It has been argued that only those who are “salt sensitive” need to be concerned about decreasing sodium/salt intake to lower blood pressure.

     

    A study published online in Circulation researched how a high-sodium diet may lead to hypertension. The study followed more than 5,000 participants from the Dutch PREVEND study for close to six-and-a-half years. Not all participants had high blood pressure when the study began.

     

    Researchers found that high sodium increased serum uric acid and urine albumin excretion—two markers of endothelial dysfunction. The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels.

     

    As serum uric acid secretion increases, so does the risk of developing hypertension. Researchers found that that also occurred when urinary albumin levels increased. The increased risk of hypertension with increased levels of sodium intake was seen only in participants with markers of endothelial dysfunction.

     

    Studies have shown that consuming high levels of sodium for short periods of time is associated with endothelial dysfunction. Researchers believe that repeat incidences of high sodium consumption may, in the long term, explain rises in blood pressure linked to high sodium diets.  

     

    Even if you are not considered to be “salt sensitive,” this study suggests that long-term high sodium intake can increase hypertension risk by affecting endothelial function. So, even if you don’t have high blood pressure, it is still important to avoid a high sodium diet.

     

    Here are 10 foods have been identified as contributing more than 40 percent of the sodium in a majority of diets.

    1. Pizza
    2. Soups
    3. Cheeseburgers and other sandwiches
    4. Deli lunch meats
    5. Breads and rolls
    6. Poultry
    7. Cheese
    8. Pasta mixed dishes
    9. Meat mixed dishes
    10. Snack foods (i.e. pretzels, potato chips, and popcorn)

    How often do you consume the foods on this list? If it’s often, you probably should cut back.