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9 ways to shake your salt habit

GEHA | February 17, 2020

Excessive salt can raise your blood pressure.

If you’re trying to lower your high blood pressure — or keep it from getting too high in the first place — you may need to watch how much sodium you consume.

While sodium is an essential mineral, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure or raise it. Water is attracted to salt, which makes you retain fluid. And fluid retention can lead to hypertension.

The American Heart Association suggests no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg a day for most adults. Just one teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. So reducing your salt intake is a good way to reduce your overall sodium levels.

Follow these tips, including:

  • Avoid processed food, especially deli meats, white bread or fast food.
  • Read labels when you buy prepared or prepackaged food.
  • Choose unsalted or low-sodium fat-free broths, soups, sauces and condiments.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
  • Select unsalted nuts, seeds and dried beans.
  • Add flavor to your food with other spices and herbs, like basil, chives, garlic, cinnamon and black or red pepper.
  • Try salt-free seasoning alternatives.
  • Limit your consumption of onion, garlic or celery salts and barbecue, soy, steak or Worcestershire sauces.
  • Don’t add salt when you cook and remove the salt shaker from your table.

Your primary care physician will monitor your high blood pressure. If you are taking medication, do not stop taking it without consulting with your physician.

“Shaking the Salt Habit to Lower High Blood Pressure.”, American Heart Association, 31 October, 2016.
“How to Reduce Sodium”, American Heart Association, 23 May 2018.