Low Sodium Diet for Hypertension
Sodium, the vital mineral required by the body to function appropriately, is found naturally in eggs, vegetables, and table salt (sodium chloride). But in some cases, sodium limits for people with medical conditions like heart trouble, high blood pressure, liver and kidney diseases.
As per reports, between 2017-18, around 46.6% of persons of age 20 or more had hypertension. A low sodium diet for hypertension focuses on reducing sodium, which leads to the reduction or prevention of high blood pressure.
Our article will provide the trending dietary guidelines for sodium intake and outline the potential health benefits of a low sodium diet for hypertension.
We will also list foods to consume and avoid following a low sodium diet. Sodium is crucial for cellular function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance, and blood pressure.
Vegetables, grains, and fruits have less sodium than meat and dairy products. Sodium levels are high in processed and packaged foods like chips, frozen foods, and fast food because of added salt.
The sodium diet for hypertension restricts high-sodium foods and beverages. You must avoid high sodium foods to keep your sodium intake under the recommended level of less than 2,000–3,000 mg per day.
Guidelines for Sodium Diet
For proper body function, we need a particular level of salt. Sodium helps the maintenance of the body’s fluid equilibrium and is essential for muscle and nerve function.
Excess sodium can aggravate high blood pressure and cause other health problems.
For people aged 14 and up, the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a salt intake of fewer than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
This amount is the same as a teaspoon of salt. The American Heart Association (AHA) supports this suggestion, but advocates aiming for a daily sodium intake of 1,500 mg.
Sodium Diet-The Note
The names “sodium” and “salt” are frequently interchanged; however, they have slightly different meanings. Table salt, often known as sodium chloride, is a typical dietary sodium source.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and disodium phosphate are among other sodium-rich foods (food additives).
A low-sodium diet for hypertension is among the most frequently prescribed in hospitals. This is because studies have shown that limiting salt intake can help regulate or alleviate the symptoms of some medical disorders.
7 Benefits of Low Sodium Diet
Excess sodium in the blood can be caused by consuming too much sodium. Sodium draws water into the bloodstream, resulting in a larger blood volume. Blood pressure rises due to the increased blood volume, which is referred to as hypertension by specialists.
Uncontrolled hypertension, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), can raise a person’s chance of developing the following health problems:
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Kidney Failure
Reduced salt intake can assist you in decreasing blood pressure or avoiding the onset of high blood pressure. People suffering from specific health issues may benefit from a low-sodium diet for hypertension. We’ve listed a few examples below.
1. High blood pressure
Sodium raises the total blood volume by increasing the amount of water in the bloodstream. The increased pressure on the circulatory system caused by this increase in blood volume causes high blood pressure.
Reducing salt in your diet may help you maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
2. Kidney Disorder
Kidneys aid in the regulation of salt levels in the body. Excess salt and fluid can build up in the body due to poor renal function. High blood pressure and edema in the ankles and under the eyes can result from this fluid buildup.
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recommends that people with kidney disease, reduce their sodium intake to avoid health issues.
3. Liver Diseases
Hypertension and a buildup of fluid in the abdomen known as ascites can occur in people with certain liver conditions. To avoid or control ascites, doctors may advise persons with cirrhosis and other liver illnesses to eating a low-sodium diet for hypertension.
4. Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
WHO or World Health Organization recommends that adults reduce their salt intake to minimize their risks of cardiovascular illness, such as stroke, heart failure, and coronary heart disease, due to the effects that blood pressure may get due to high sodium levels.
However, research on the benefits of a low-sodium diet in avoiding the onset or worsening of heart failure has yielded mixed results. A low-sodium diet for hypertension can help your health in various ways.
5. Reduced Blood Pressure
As aforementioned, a low-sodium diet will reduce blood pressure. Transitioning to a low-sodium diet has been derived from studies to effect small but significant changes in blood pressure, mainly in individuals with high levels.
6. Decreased Cancer Risk
High-salt diets have been linked to certain cancers, including the stomach. Studies have proved that high-salt diets damage the stomach with increased inflammation that helps H. Pylori bacteria grow, raising stomach cancer risk.
A low sodium diet for hypertension rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer.
7. Improved Diet Quality
Fast food, packaged foods, and frozen foods are high in sodium and unhealthy fats and calories. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and have all been linked to the frequent consumption of these foods.
These high-salt foods are forbidden on a low-sodium diet, which may improve the overall quality of your diet. A low-sodium diet for hypertension may lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of stomach cancer, and improve the quality of your diet.
Foods to Enjoy During Sodium Diet
If you’re on a low-sodium diet, it’s critical to eat foods that are naturally low in sodium or have little added salt. Consuming primarily fresh foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and animal products, is one way to reduce dietary sodium intake. It is also critical to avoid seasoning food with salt.
The ODPHP suggests using one of these alternative food seasonings in place of salt:
- Herbs, spices, chopped onion, garlic, or peppers, ginger and lime or lemon juice
- Vegetables without sauces
- Garlic powder, no-salt blends, herbs, and spices.
- Berries, apples, bananas, pears, etc.
- Chicken, turkey, beef, or pork.
- Fish, cod, sea bass, tuna, etc.
- Dried beans, brown rice, farro, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta.
- Olive oil, avocado, and avocado oil.
- Dairy products
- Whole-wheat bread, low-sodium tortillas, and unsalted crackers.
- Unsalted Pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, pretzels, unsalted popcorn, tortilla chips.
- Low-sodium salad dressing vinegar, mayonnaise, and low-sodium sauces.
- Tea, coffee, low-sodium vegetable juice, and water.
Foods to Avoid During Low Sodium Diet
According to the FDA, prepared or packaged foods account for more than 70% of sodium in the diet. High sodium levels can also be found in foods that do not taste salty, such as pastries and cereal.
- Salty snacks: These include tortillas, corn chips, and pretzels.
- Convenience foods: Avoid canned meals and frozen dinners.
- High sodium sauces: Soy, Teriyaki, and barbecue sauce are examples.
- Processed foods: These foods include cheese, buttermilk, and canned soup.
- Cured foods: Ham, bacon, and pickles undergo a curing process.
- Lunch meats: Lunch meats include pastrami, sausage, and corned beef.
Those on a low sodium diet for hypertension may also want to exercise caution when dining out. Before ordering, customers can inquire about the sodium content of a particular meal.
They can also request that the dish be prepared without salt, and that salad dressings or sauces be served separately.
You should avoid the sodium-rich foods listed below on a low-sodium diet:
- Fast food
- Salty snack foods
- Processed meats
- Canned products
- Cheese and dairy
- High-sodium baked goods
- Baking mixes
- Boxed meals
- Sauces and condiments
- Pickled vegetables.
It would be best to restrict salty snacks, fast foods, and packaged meals to avoid high-sodium intake.
Sodium Diet-The Restaurant Dining
Choose a restaurant where you can customize food individually to get only the foods you want as follows:
- Order fresh bread and rolls without salty, buttery crusts.
- Request salad dressings on the side and dip your fork in them before taking a bite of the food item.
- Request steamed vegetables.
- Select broiled, baked, grilled, roasted meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish without breading.
- Request plain noodles or vegetable dishes.
- Request unsalted food to be cooked.
- Choose salad entrees or non-fried and non-breaded items in fast-food restaurants.
- Select fruit, sherbet, gelatin, and plain cakes.
Low Sodium Diet Home Meals
Eating out is the leading contributor to sodium intake, and controlling what goes into your food by cooking at home will reduce sodium intake and help you lose weight.
Following a low-sodium diet for hypertension, seasoning foods, and preparing palatable meals can be challenging, but there are various easy tricks to avoid salt.
Below are some pro-tips on a low-sodium diet:
- Substitute salt with lemon juice.
- Cook with fresh herbs rather than salt.
- Dress salads with citrus juices or olive oil
- Prepare hummus with chickpeas, garlic, and spices.
- Make a marinade with olive oil, garlic, vinegar, honey, and ginger.
Although necessary for fluid balance and neuromuscular function, excess sodium causes hypertension and other health concerns.
A low-sodium diet for hypertension can help treat hypertension, kidney disease, and liver disease, along with many other conditions.
Eat fresh produce and seek sodium-free food when you’re on a low-sodium diet. For more assistance, you should consult a doctor or a dietician.
Low-sodium diets will help with hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and improve the quality of your food.
To decrease your sodium intake and stay within your doctor’s guidelines, choose fresh foods, avoid salty foods, and prepare meals at home.