When a person has little care about how much salt (sodium) is in their diet, dire health consequences can ensue.
Research suggests most of the sodium in western diets comes from restaurant and packaged foods.
When a person consumes too much sodium, their body holds extra water to “wash” the salt from the body.
In some people, this may cause blood pressure to rise with the added water putting stress on the heart and blood vessels.
With high blood pressure being a serious health condition and certain foods directly impacting it, what foods and drinks should you cut down on or better yet eliminate from your diet?
High blood pressure diet
Cutting down on salt is one of the simplest ways to lower your blood pressure, and will start to make a difference very quickly, even within weeks.
Eating too much salt can lead to all the health problems high blood pressure causes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and some types of dementia.
Eating less salt will also allow medicines to work and for the kidneys to do their job, lowering the amount of excess fluid in your blood and lowering your blood pressure.
According to WebMD, food and drinks to avoid if suffering with high blood pressure include:
- Frozen meals
- Salty snacks
- Pickled foods
- Tomato juice and sauces
- Processed meat
- Beer and wine
Your kidneys play an important role in removing fluid and waste products from your body and in controlling your blood pressure.
“Eating too much salt makes them less able to do their job, raising your blood pressure and leading to kidney disease,” says Blood Pressure UK.
The health site continued: “Your kidneys filter out excess fluid from your blood, which then collects in your bladder to be removed as urine.
“They draw water out of your blood through osmosis – where the water travels from the blood which is relatively low in sodium into channels which are higher in sodium – sodium is the part of salt that raises your blood pressure.
“Eating too much salt raises the amount of sodium in your blood, throwing off this fine balance of sodium and water, and damaging the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys eventually leading to kidney disease.”
Other ways to lower your blood pressure
Ways to lower your blood pressure reading include:
- Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce your stress
If lifestyle changes fail medications may be suggested or prescribed by someone’s GP.
The two medications normally included are ACE Inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
In common with other medications, both of these can cause side effects.
These include dizziness, headaches, and potentially, a rash.