Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood on the walls of blood vessels while flowing through them. Normal blood pressure is defined by the value of 120/80 mmHg. The values greater than 140/90 mm of Hg are indicative of high blood pressure or hypertension. The diagnosis of hypertension with visible symptoms is usually difficult. The only real way to know that you have hypertension is to get it measured and diagnosed by a healthcare practitioner. Persistent high blood pressure may harm your heart, kidneys, eyes and brain.1
Reducing the elevated blood pressure even in a small amount avoids the health risks associated with hypertension. Medications and lifestyle changes are extremely beneficial in lowering high blood pressure. Studies show repeatedly that a low-salt diet can lower high blood pressure.2
How is salt in the diet associated with high blood pressure?
The salt in our diet is chemically sodium chloride. The sodium component in the salt is primarily responsible for the high blood pressure.2 The salt from our diet enters the bloodstream and directs the kidneys to hold back more water in the body. The excessive levels of fluid in the blood leads to an increase in the blood volume, resulting in elevated blood pressure.3 The extra fluid also puts a strain on blood vessels, brain and kidneys.2
Can a low-salt diet help people to reduce hypertension?
Evidence from several studies has shown that lowering the salt levels in the diet can reduce high blood pressure.3 Low-sodium-containing diet combined with physical activity and prescribed medication can lower the risk of hypertension and also improve the benefits of medication.2 Cutting down on the table salt and salt-containing food products can reduce your overall salt intake.4 You may replace sodium from your common salt by using potassium chloride salt. According to the American Heart Association, cutting down 1 g of salt daily can provide better results in controlling the high blood pressure.4
Food without salt is tasteless, but you may choose herbs, spices and low salt seasonings to make up for the taste.2,4 We present some simple low-salt recipes to control your hypertension:
Mediterranean fish casserole:
Fry chopped garlic and onions in oil in a frying pan. Add fennel, peppers and tomato paste and cook the fish uncovered. Adding thyme and olives can add taste to the recipe. Tomatoes have potassium that can make up for the common salt, which we have not used in the recipe. The total cooking time is 35 minutes.5
Fry celery, garlic and onions in oil by using non-stick fry pan and add paprika along with mushrooms. Allow the ingredients to cook and stir with sour cream and black pepper. Mushrooms are a rich source of potassium. The recipe is a tasty vegetarian dish without salt. The recipe will be ready in 25 minutes.6
Make tomato salsa by consolidating tomatoes, pepper, garlic, onion and coriander. In a frying pan, cook onion, paprika, cumin oregano and chicken for five minutes. The tortillas should be warmed in the oven, and the cooked chicken should be filled in tortillas. Garnish it with salsa and some lettuce. The cooking time is only 10 minutes.7
If you change the way you cook by using alternatives to salt that make food tasty, then you can control the intake of salt through diet. Cut down the use of processed and preserved food, use seasoning with less sodium, and buy products with less sodium content.4 We hope that these recipes will help you cook healthy and yummy food even as you manage blood pressure better.
Just bid adieu to that salt shaker from your table and enhance the taste of food by cooking low-salt and herb-rich recipes. Your health is in your hands, and make smart choices of food.
- NHS. High blood pressure (Hypertension) [Internet]. [updated 2019 Oct 23; cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/.
- World Health Organization. Low salt diet for patients with hypertension [Internet]. [updated 2017; cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: https://iris.wpro.who.int/bitstream/handle/10665.1/13561/9789290618003-hyp-mod4-eng.pdf.
- Harvard Medical School. Salt shakedown: a boon for lowering blood pressure. [Internet]. [updated 2016 Sep; cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/salt-shakedown-a-boon-for-lowering-blood-pressure.
- American Heart Association. Shaking the salt habit to lower high blood pressure [Internet]. [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/shaking-the-salt-habit-to-lower-high-blood-pressure
- Blood Pressure UK. Low-salt recipes: Mediterranean fish casserole [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/Home/Low-saltrecipes/Mediterraneanfishcasserole.
- Blood Pressure UK. Low-salt recipes: Mushroom stroganoff [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/Home/Low-saltrecipes/Mushroomstroganoff.
- Blood Pressure UK. Low salt recipes: Chicken fajitas [Internet]. [cited 2020 Jan 7]. Available from: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/salt/Home/Low-saltrecipes/Chickenfajitas.