Q:

How is salt linked to high blood pressure?

A:

Quick Answer

Salt increases blood pressure in some people, because its component sodium causes the body to retain excess water to eliminate the salt, explains Cleveland Clinic. The extra water adds stress on the heart and arteries, leading to high blood pressure in which the arteries bear too much pressure.

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Full Answer

Salt mostly contains the mineral sodium, which is naturally found in many foods, states Cleveland Clinic. The American Heart Association's recommended sodium daily intake is less than 1,500 milligrams. People with high blood pressure should maintain a diet low in salt, calories and fat to control their blood pressure.

To reduce salt consumption, a person should avoid using table salt and opt for salt substitutes suggested by a health care professional, says Cleveland Clinic. It is important to examine nutrition labels and choose sodium-free, low-sodium or unsalted products. It helps to use vinegar, herbs, spices and fruit juices rather than salt and to minimize the use of salad dressings, shortening, margarine, butter and oil. Herbs and seasoning mixes without sodium content are also preferable.

High-sodium foods to avoid include condiments, canned soups and processed foods, such as bacon, sausage and lunch meats, according to Cleveland Clinic. Recommended foods for people with high blood pressure include yogurt, skim or 1-percent milk, skinless turkey or chicken, lean meat and low-salt cereals.

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