Lowering salt in your diet can lower your blood pressure. After 4 or more weeks on a low salt diet, your systolic (top number) blood pressure can go down as much as 5 points.
On average, US adults consume about 3,529 mg of sodium every day. Experts say that people with elevated and high blood pressure should reduce their salt intake to less than 1,500 mg a day. But even reducing it by 1,000 mg a day from your regular diet can lower your blood pressure. Reducing your salt intake and adopting a heart-healthy diet can lower your blood pressure even more.
The biggest step to cutting back on sodium is to be aware of what you eat. Processed and ready-made foods, fast food, and restaurant meals have the highest sodium content by far. Other tips for reducing your sodium intake are:
- Adopt a heart-healthy diet such as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
- Read food labels at stores and restaurants. Choose low sodium options.
- Stop eating takeout and fast food.
- Buy fresh meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, and fruit whenever possible.
- Avoid sauces, mixes, and instant products such as flavored-rice or ready-made pasta
- In restaurants, choose low sodium options or ask for no salt to be added to your food.
Start paying attention to your sodium intake! Try to lower it by at least 1,000 mg a day at first. Your ultimate goal is to get it to less than 1,500 mg a day. Talk to your doctor or a nutrition specialist if you need help. By reducing your salt intake and adopting a heart-healthy diet, you can lower your blood pressure.
Stop before you shake, lower your salt intake!