Does salt affect blood pressure?
If you have recently been diagnosed with hypertension, one of the first things you must have heard from your doctor and family is – reduce your salt intake. The prospect of eating bland food is a daunting one. After a few days of attempting a salt-less diet, the first question that must have come to your mind is, ‘Does salt actually affect my blood pressure?’ closely followed by ‘Can I eat salt without any adverse effects?’
To answer these questions, it is necessary to understand the science behind salt and hypertension. Let’s look at them one at a time.
Does salt actually affect my blood pressure?
Take a trip down memory lane and remember your science textbooks. Salt is actually a mineral consisting sodium and chloride molecules. According to a Harvard study, the sodium in salt increases water retention in the body, causing it to hold on to more water in order to wash sodium out of the body. This extra water raises your blood pressure along with increasing strain on your kidneys, arteries, brain and heart. This starts a chain reaction which can lead to heart and kidney disease. It can also damage arteries leading to the brain. This brings us to the conclusion that salt does impact your blood pressure.
Can I eat salt without any adverse effects?
Have you ever checked the nutritional facts label on a pack of chips? Most processed and packaged food contains a high level of salt as it acts as a preservative and enhances the taste of the food item. This is one of the reasons why packaged food tastes a lot more delicious in comparison to the food we cook at home. Unknowingly, we consume high amount of salt through various food items throughout the day. While you make attempts to cut down your salt intake by reducing the salt in the food you cook, it is of very little use unless you consciously reduce sodium intake from these other sources.
While you work towards this lifestyle change, another change that you should consider is moving to a low-sodium alternative to the regular table salt. Low-sodium alternatives such as Tata Salt Lite are specially formulated to provide 15% lower sodium than regular salt. It can help you maintain your blood pressure levels along with addressing the nutrient needs of your body and satisfying your taste buds.
Ascertain the right ratio of salt in your diet by consulting your doctor. Over a period of time, managing hypertension becomes easier as lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and exercise become a regular part of your life. The key is to create a balance and live a holistic life to maintain it.