Sodium and High Blood Pressure - Topic Overview
Eating a lot of sodium (salt) is linked with high blood pressure.
salt in the diet can prevent high blood pressure in those at risk for the
disease and can help control high blood pressure in elderly people.
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African Americans, older adults, and people with
diabetes may benefit most from lowering their dietary
People who are more sensitive to sodium
- People with kidney disease.
- People of
- People with a family history of high blood
- People over age 50.
To reduce salt and sodium in your diet:
- Eat less than
2.3 g (2,300 mg) of sodium a
day (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt).
- Eat a diet that includes
plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, and legumes.
- Limit fast foods. They often
contain large amounts of salt.
- When eating out, choose foods carefully to limit salt. For tips on eating out, see:
food labels for sodium.
- Look for products that say "low sodium," which must
contain less than 140 mg of sodium in a
- Sodium can have different names. Be sure to check for hidden salt in food labels.
- Limit processed foods. They are the biggest source of salt in our food. Examples include:
- Canned or instant soups and sauce
- Canned or frozen entrees.
- Salty or smoked meats,
such as bologna, hot dogs, lunch meats, sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, and tuna
packed with salt (includes most water-packed tuna).
- Snack items like
chips, pretzels, salted popcorn, salted nuts, and crackers.
- Canned vegetables.
- Cheeses, especially processed
- Limit how much salt you add at the table.
- Limit salt and sodium in your cooking. Try these tips:
- Prepare foods with sodium-free spices and
herbs, such as basil, bay leaves, curry, garlic, ginger, lemon, mint, oregano,
pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
- Try one new herb or spice in a recipe
- Cut in half the salt called for in
- Add little or no salt to the food on your
- Eat high-salt foods in moderation, and use low-salt or
salt-free products regularly.
- Try a low-salt cookbook for other
- Do not drink softened water (it contains added
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 05, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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Sodium and High Blood Pressure Topics