Is It OK to Stop Worrying About Salt and High Blood Pressure?

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Hi, I'm Dr. Kelvin Soden. Are you confused by recent certain headlines suggesting that too little salt could be bad for you? You're right, too little salt I said. Yes, your body needs sodium. Salt regulates blood pressure and keeps your muscles and nerves humming, but more isn't better, especially for some of us. A small percent of people with high blood pressure are extremely salt sensitive, sodium launches their blood pressure into the stratosphere.

Here's an easy way to find out if you fall into that group. Get an inexpensive home blood pressure monitor, costs about $20. Take a couple of readings as a baseline, then follow a low salt diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and heart healthy fat like olive oil for four weeks.

Oh, and limit the packaging processed foods, was some of the biggest sources of sodium in the American diet. Then recheck your blood pressure. If it's dropped, chances are salt was driving it up, in that case, be sure to keep your sodium below 1,500 milligrams a day. That's about three quarters of a teaspoon of table salt.

For more ways to take care of your heart, watch all our Health Smarts videos, right here.