Diet should be part of treatment of high blood pressure. Specifically, the sodium in salt can significantly raise blood pressure. Lowering sodium should be a major component of diet for those concerned about high blood pressure. A low-sodium diet should contain no more than 2300 milligrams a day, or one teaspoon of salt.
Although salt does add flavor to food, the preference for salt is mainly a habit. By gradually decreasing the amount of salt in the diet, taste buds will adjust and pretty soon food will taste as good if not better without the added salt.
A major source of sodium in the diet is table salt. Those concerned about high blood pressure should not add salt to their meals. Additionally, many canned and pre-prepared foods have high sodium content; some may not actually taste salty. It is thus important to read food labels to determine the sodium content and to decrease sodium content. Be careful about what the label says, both sodium benzoate and sodium citrate contain sodium. Additionally, foods such as baking powder, baking soda, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) contain a lot of sodium. Foods at restaurants, especially soups, tend to be high in salt. Salads, vegetables, and steamed foods are usually better. There are many other foods high in sodium. A qualified nutritionist can further suggest changes in diet for lowering blood pressure.
Salt substitutes are available. Instead of sodium, these often use potassium and taste similar to regular table salt. In some individuals, such as those with kidney problems, potassium can be dangerous. Prior to using a salt substitute, it is important to discuss this with a doctor.
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Published On: October 17, 2006