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How much salt is safe to consume for hypertension patients?

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How much salt is safe to consume for hypertension patients?

Introduction:

Some people perceive that salt is very dangerous for people suffering from high blood pressure. Therefore it is advised to completely abandon the use of salt or take it in extremely low quantities. The reason for this belief is that high concentrations of sodium in blood and body fluids further increase the blood pressure which in turn also causes a harmful effect on heart. However according doctors and specialists, totally avoiding salt in hypertension patients is really not recommended and is taking the idea to the extreme. There are certain cases when use of salt is completely prohibited to the patients of hypertension, otherwise in many other cases calculated amounts of salts can be taken and it is not at all harmful for the body.

Why salt is to be avoided in high blood pressure?

Salt is comprised of two main ions, sodium and chloride. It is unsafe to consume high doses of sodium even in normal disease free state. However, with high blood pressure, sodium is to be especially avoided because:

Sodium attracts water (you must have noticed that after having a salty food, you feel thirsty) which leads to increase in total plasma or in simple words total blood amount. In a normal person, whatever water you take, is excreted by kidneys in the form of urine; however if sodium levels are high within the body, water is locked up with sodium (in order to preserve the concentration of blood near reference ranges).

In a person who already is a known patient of high blood pressure, it is very important to have normal amount of blood and any extra volume may add additional stress on heart that may increase the activity of heart and work load on heart, thereby increasing the risk of heart attack.

Daily Recommendations of Salt Intake:

The sensitivity of different people to varying amounts of salts is different. In some cases using too much salt will raise the blood pressure while in other patients there will not be a marked change. Usually the diabetic people are more sensitive to higher concentrations of salt. A normal body needs about 500 milligrams of salt per day. However most of the people take as much as ten times of this amount. Doctors suggest that people suffering from high blood pressure should not take more than 1500 milligrams of salt per day. Further reducing this amount will help in controlling their blood pressure.

Which Foods you should Avoid to Prevent Hypertension?

  • Processed and canned foods contain a lot of salt which is added in order to preserve these foods for a longer time. Before buying any canned food, it is imperative to first check the concentration of sodium present in 100 gram serving of the food. Patients with high blood pressure should minimise their consumption of processed and canned food and instead substitute with more fruits.
  • In addition to this there are many other foods which contain a lot of salt like pickles, salsa, olives, broth, condiments, cheese and bacon which again should be minimised or avoided.
  • Although not very well explained, but uncooked sodium is much dangerous to heart than cooked sodium. It is therefore recommended not to use added salt intake or sprinkled salt on eggs, cucumbers, rice and other types of food on the plate.
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  • G Narayana

    I just received your first mail and subscribed to your newsletter. I find your articles on health very useful in understanding various sickness related issues and even as general knowledge for better health and hygiene.
    Thank you.