Food for Thought: Sodium and blood pressure

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – If you have been told to watch your sodium, it can be hard because it is in so many foods. So, how much sodium can you have on a low sodium diet?

It’s clear that a high-sodium diet increases the risk of hypertension, and that a low-sodium diet can not only help prevent hypertension but help control it in some people.

Sodium increases blood pressure because it causes your body to hold on to excess fluid. This creates added stress for your heart.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day, the amount in about a teaspoon of salt.

The American Heart Association recommends a limit of just 1,500 milligrams a day. That lower goal makes sense for people with high blood pressure and those at higher risk for it including black people and all adults over age 50.

Once you know how many milligrams of sodium you can have, it is easier to budget for higher sodium foods you like as long as you eat lower sodium the rest of the day.

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