High blood pressure, sometimes called hypertension, rarely has visible symptoms. But that’s an added fear because high blood pressure increases your risk of developing serious illnesses like heart attacks or strokes. In the UK, around a third of adults have high blood pressure, according to the NHS, although the organization says many don’t realize it right away. Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different, and what is considered high or low for you may be normal for someone else. The only way to check if your blood pressure is high is to have it tested, which everyone should do often.
Salt, or especially the sodium in salt, is a huge contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Table salt contains about 40% sodium, of which it is recommended to eat about a teaspoon per day in case of high blood pressure.
These foods greatly contribute to the daily salt intake:
- Breads and rolls
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Processed meats and deli meats are often loaded with sodium when manufacturers dry, season, and preserve them with salt.
Even the so-called “ low salt ” tend to be quite high in sodium, so try to avoid it if you can.
Eating a diet high in salt can upset the normal sodium balance in your body, causing fluid retention and subsequently increased blood pressure.
According to figures from Action on Salt, reducing your sodium intake from 10g per day to 6g may lower your blood pressure. This could lead to a 16% reduction in stroke deaths and a 12% reduction in coronary heart disease deaths.
Too much alcohol can dramatically increase your blood pressure, so don’t be surprised if someone recommends that you reduce your alcohol intake.
Alcohol can also prevent any high blood pressure medication you take from working properly due to drug interactions.
Plus, many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and calories, which means that too much alcoholic drink can contribute to obesity, which increases the risk of high blood pressure.
If cutting back on alcohol is a difficult feat for you, talk to your GP or doctor about your options.