Hypertension & Salts

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Sat, 08/11/2012
High Blood Pressure & Salts

Can sodium-salt raise blood pressure? As a hypertension high sodium salt intake, increase blood pressure and potassium help lower blood pressure.

Sodium salt and blood pressure

Does salt cause or raise blood pressure? The more sodium in your blood retains more water. It increases the blood volume and increases in blood pressure as well as make the heart work harder.

A study shows that in people with hypertension, limiting salt intake about 1500 mg/day can do lower blood pressure significantly as compared to a single drug hypertension treatment. The blood pressure-lowering effect is up to 9 mmHg systolic and 4.5 mmHg diastolic.

According to another study, there is about an 11% decline in heart disease and stroke by this simple lifestyle modification of lowering the salt intake to 1500mg/day.

Salt sensitive individual’s blood pressure

Some people are more vulnerable to salt; these people with too much salt can raise their blood pressure. For others who are non-sensitive to sodium, there will not have as massive a change. However, about 50 % of peoples are salt sensitive.

Your recommended hypertensive salt intake.

Your salt requirement is only 500 mg/day for your body to function normally. Most people consume about ten times more of this actual requirement.

The current recommendation of sodium intake for non-hypertensive is less than 2400 mg/day (or 2.4 grams/day). It equals to six grams (about one teaspoon) of table salt a day; this includes all salts and sodium you consume, including cooking and at the table use. For people with hypertension, it is advisable to eat less salt and sodium. Numerous studies have shown people who consume 1,500 mg of sodium had better blood pressure-lowering benefits than those with high salt intake.

The recommended quantity of salt for people with hypertension is 1500 mg/day.

How do you lowering your salt intake?

Almost 80% of the person's daily salt intake is from processed foods. If you eat only natural foods and limit the table salt, then you can eliminate excess salt in your diets.

  • Use fresh, no salt added vegetables.
  • Always use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, instead of the processed ones.
  • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals with low/no salt instead of instant rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have more salt.
  • You can select convenience foods that are low sodium. Limit frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings, which usually have a lot of sodium.
  • You have to rinse thoroughly the canned foods, such as tuna, which helps to remove a lot of sodium in it.
  • If available, use low salt, no salt, sodium-free, very-low sodium, low sodium, reduced sodium, light sodium, or unsalted foods.

Sea salt vs. table salt

Sea salt has some health benefits compared with table salt. Health-conscious individuals prefer sea salt because it contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, etc. However, the sodium percentage is the same in both sea salt and table salt; it contains about 40 percent sodium.

We get sea salt directly through the evaporation of seawater and thus retain to trace level of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other nutrients. On the other hand, table salts are mining and processing of salt deposits, which remove naturally available trace minerals. Additionally, they add additives to prevent clumping or caking of salt.

Importance of sodium-potassium balance in High blood pressure

All body cells have a sodium-potassium pump; potassium ions are pumping into the cell, and sodium ions are pumping out, this is an active transport process. The slowing down of the sodium-potassium pump results in a buildup of sodium inside the cell.

It is impossible to lower sodium inside the cell without replacing it with potassium.  Therefore, these two substances are needs to be in perfect balance. A low-sodium diet alone cannot produce a blood pressure-lowering effect unless there is enough potassium to replace the sodium inside the body cell.

A study in the CDC division of heart disease and stroke prevention shows those who eat high sodium, and low potassium diet has 50 % more death risk from any cause. And about twice more risk of death from heart disease.

Power of potassium in blood pressure

From various studies, we learned that the more potassium we consume, the more sodium we excrete through urine. Additionally, potassium helps to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. However, do not think that consuming additional potassium is an excuse for consuming a high sodium salt diet. It put more strain to your kidney to flush out this excess sodium and potassium salts.

Some foods rich in potassium are sweet potatoes, potatoes, greens, spinach, mushrooms, lima beans, peas, bananas, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, prunes, apricot, dates, milk, yogurt, halibut, tuna, and molasses.

A diet high in potassium is heart-healthy and good for your overall health.

Research show substituting potassium salt instead of sodium table salt, benefit both blood pressure and heart. However, the potassium salt is not for all; excess potassium can be harmful to people with kidney disease or taking drugs that increase blood potassium levels. Thus, consult your doctor before trying a potassium-based salt as a substitute for table salt.