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Shake the Salt Habit to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Do you pay attention to the amount of salt in your diet? Don’t ignore it! Salt increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, placing an added burden on the heart. Lowering your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Are you overweight?
Do you have a family history of high blood pressure?
Do you currently have a blood pressure of 130-139/80-89?
Are you African-American?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are potentially at risk of developing high blood pressure.
Reduce salt and sodium in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. That’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. Unfortunately, most Americans consume twice as much salt as they need. Sodium is in many foods, not just in the salt that you add to food.
You can reduce your sodium intake by:
  • Adding less salt to your food
  • Buying fresh or frozen vegetables, instead of canned vegetables
  • Avoiding canned or processed meat, fish, and poultry
  • Read Nutrition Facts labels. Find products that contain 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
Foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure
Canned vegetables and soups
Frozen dinners
Fast food
Potato chips
Some cereals
Salted nuts
Salted popcorn
Tomato sauce  and vegetable juice
Processed food in boxes, cans, and bags
Processed and cured meats, fish, and poultry
Reduce salt and sodium when cooking
The following tips can help you reduce salt and sodium in the foods that you cook:
  • Do not add salt when making rice, pasta, or hot cereal
  • Rinse canned vegetables or buy No Salt Added varieties
  • Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning
  • Use less processed foods
By: Jamie Neal, RD,
Resource: American Heart Association