Effect Of Salt On Blood Pressure
The human body has evolved to balance salt intake with need through means such as the reninangiotensin system. In humans, salt has important biological functions. Relevant to risk of cardiovascular disease, salt is highly involved with the maintenance of body fluid volume, including osmotic balance in the blood, extracellular and intracellular fluids, and resting membrane potential.
The well known effect of sodium on blood pressure can be explained by comparing blood to a solution with its salinity changed by ingested salt. Artery walls are analogous to a selectively permeable membrane, and they allow solutes, including sodium and chloride, to pass through , depending on osmosis.
Circulating water and solutes in the body maintain blood pressure in the blood, as well as other functions such as regulation of body temperature. When salt is ingested, it is dissolved in the blood as two separate ions Na+ and Cl. The water potential in blood will decrease due to the increase solutes, and blood osmotic pressure will increase. While the kidney reacts to excrete excess sodium and chloride in the body, water retention causes blood pressure to increase.
In agreement with studies regarding salt sensitivity, participants of African descent showed high reductions in blood pressure.
How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
Salt And The Blood Vessels
It is generally recommended that healthy people eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day — about the amount found in one teaspoon of table salt.
But the average American eats more than twice that, even if they rarely pick up a salt shaker, says Mayo Clinic cardiologist Gerald Fletcher, MD, who is a spokesman for the American Heart Association.
“Processed foods are often loaded with salt, even those that don’t taste all that salty,” Fletcher tells WebMD. “That is why it is so important to read labels.”
The newly published study included 29 overweight and obese men and women who ate either 3 1/2 grams of salt a day or 7 1/2 grams a day for two weeks. Then they switched to the other diet for two weeks.
None of the participants had high blood pressure when they entered the study.
While on the salt-restricted diet, but not the normal diet, the study participants showed improvements in endothelial function in tests designed to measure blood vessel dilation and blood flow.
The low-salt diet also led to small reductions in systolic blood pressure but not diastolic .
The findings appear in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“This study suggests, but does not prove, that salt in the diet has an independent impact on blood vessel function,” Keogh says.
She and Fletcher agree that larger studies are needed to confirm the findings.
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How Much Sodium Is Too Much
Harvard says that you only need about 500 milligrams of sodium to maintain essential body functions, but an average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams a day.
According to the American Heart Association , all that extra sodium in your blood can pull water into your blood and increase your blood volume. Over time, this can lead to high blood pressure, damage to blood vessels and more work for your heart. More than 70 percent of sodium in the average American diet comes from salt in packaged foods and restaurant foods, not your saltshaker, the AHA says.
Although people often develop high blood pressure in older age, eating less salt can help reduce the rise in blood pressure that comes with age. Lower blood pressure may reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, AHA states.
“The American Heart Association says that 3,500 milligrams of sodium is the safe limit for most people,” Dr. Boblick says. “We recommend about 2,300 milligrams for most people. That’s the amount in one teaspoon of salt.”
“Most people do not need a lower salt diet unless they have heart disease or high blood pressure,” he adds.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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Misconception: You Should Wait For Your Doctor To Mention Cholesterol
You need to take charge of your health. Starting at age 20, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol, assess your factors and estimate your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
If youre between 20 and 39, your doctor can assess your lifetime risk. If youre between 40 and 75, they will assess your 10-year risk.
Once you know your risk, you can take action to lower it. Your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes and possibly medication. Follow all of your doctors instructions and have your cholesterol and other risk factors checked every four to six years as long as your risk remains low.
How Much Salt Should We Eat
Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day, and children should eat less. Most people eat a lot more than 6g. Its hard to know how much youre eating because its hidden in the foods we buy such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, table sauces, cheese and processed meat. In fact, three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy, rather than added at home.
Food from cafes, restaurants and takeaways tend to be much saltier than foods from shops, easily taking you over 6g a day, sometimes in just one meal.
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Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
Salt: Is It Healthy Or Unhealthy
Health organizations have been on alert about the dangers of salt for a long time.
There are claims that excess salt intake causes high blood pressure and heart disease. Yet, decades of research have observed conflicting results.
Whats more, some evidence shows that eating too little salt can be harmful.
This article takes a detailed look at salt and whether its healthy.
Some salt varieties are fortified with iodine, iron, folic acid, or a combination of these. For example, table salt often contains added iodine .
Sodium is essential for many essential body functions, including fluid balance, nerve health, nutrient absorption, and muscle function .
Countless foods contain sodium even foods that may taste sweet, such as bread, cereals, cured meats, sauces, condiments, cereals, chips, crackers, and soups.
Historically, salt has been used to preserve food. High salt concentrations help prevent bacterial growth that can cause food to spoil (
Many types of salt are available. Popular varieties include plain table salt, Himalayan pink salt, and sea salt. These may vary in taste, texture, and color.
Salt mainly comprises the minerals sodium and chloride. It has many important functions in your body and is prevalent in many foods.
While your body needs some salt to function properly, too much of it can be detrimental to your health.
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Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity
A deficiency of sodium in the U.S. is rare because it is so commonly added to a wide variety of foods and occurs naturally in some foods. Hyponatremia is the term used to describe abnormally low amounts of sodium in the blood. This occurs mainly in older adults, particularly those living in long-term care facilities or hospitals who take medications or have health conditions that deplete the body of sodium, leading to hyponatremia. Excess vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating can also cause hyponatremia if salt is lost in these fluids that are expelled from the body. Sometimes too much fluid abnormally collecting in the body can lead to hyponatremia, which might stem from diseases such as heart failure or liver cirrhosis. In rare cases, simply drinking too much fluid can lead to hyponatremia if the kidneys cant excrete the excess water. Symptoms of hyponatremia can include: nausea, vomiting, headaches, altered mental state/confusion, lethargy, seizures, coma.
The interplay of sodium and potassium
A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that:
Misconception: With Medications No Lifestyle Changes Are Needed
Medications can help control cholesterol levels, but making diet and lifestyle changes are the best way to reduce heart disease and stroke risk. To lower your cholesterol, eat a heart-healthy diet and get at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise a week.
Its also important to take your medication exactly as your doctor has instructed.
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Facts About Sodium Consumption And Sodium In Our Food Supply
- The 20202025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day as part of a healthy eating pattern.6
- About 90% of Americans 2 years old or older consume too much sodium.7
- The average daily sodium intake for Americans 2 years old or older is more than 3,400 mg.8
- Americans are consuming substantially more sodium than in the 1970s. Since 2010, some manufacturers have reduced sodium in some foods, and the amount of sodium consumed has decreased slightly in some groups of people.7,9
- About 70% of sodium consumed is from processed and restaurant foods. Only a small portion of sodium or salt is used in cooking or added at the table.10
- Because sodium is already in processed and restaurant foods when they are purchased, reducing personal sodium intake can be hard, even for motivated people.11
- Sodium content can vary across the same types of foods by brand. For example, a slice of frozen cheese pizza can have between 370 mg and 730 mg of sodium a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant can have between 710 mg and 1,690 mg.12
- Sodium information currently is not always readily available for restaurant or prepared foods and can be hard for the consumer to estimate.
Swap Out Ice Cream For Fresh Fruit
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , the United States produced 49.9 million gallons of full-fat ice cream in 2019, up nearly 14 percent from the year before. The cold, sweet stuff is a staple in many American households. But did you know that a single cup of ice cream has more fat than a hamburger and almost double the saturated fat of a glazed doughnut? Skip the scoop and try a cup of fresh fruit for dessert instead. Fruit is low in calories and high in the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients you really need making it one of the best things you can eat to reduce the amount of cholesterol youre consuming.
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Misconception: If The Nutrition Facts Label Shows No Cholesterol The Food Is Heart Healthy
A foods Nutrition Facts label can be helpful for choosing heart-healthy foods, if you know what to look for.
Many foods marketed as low-cholesterol have high levels of saturated or trans fats, both of which raise blood cholesterol.
Look for how much saturated fat, trans fat and total calories are in a serving. Ingredients are listed in descending order of use, so choose products where fats and oils are near the end of the ingredients list.
Potassium: The Connection To Sodium
The people at highest risk from a high-sodium diet are those who don’t get enough potassium, according to Harvard. Potassium has the opposite effect on blood pressure and blood vessels than sodium, relaxing blood vessels, helping the body get rid of sodium and lowering blood pressure.
Having a high-sodium and low-potassium diet increases your risk for dying from a heart attack, and the worse the imbalance, the higher the risk.
“Healthy diets that will reduce your risk from sodium include the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet,” Dr. Boblick says. “These diets avoid processed foods and favor fresh and whole foods.”
The worst offenders among processed foods, Harvard says, are those that use salt both to add flavor and act as a preservative: breads, pizza, sandwiches, cold cuts and preserved meats, canned soups and snacks like chips, cookies, crackers, pretzels and microwave popcorn. On the other hand, almost all unprocessed foods are low in sodium. Fruits and vegetables have the added plus of being naturally high in potassium.
Although sodium and cholesterol affect your heart differently, you can reduce both risk factors with the same heart-healthy diet.
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Does High Consumption Of Salt Affect Bad Cholesterol
Eating too much salt can be bad for your circulatory health. Having high levels of bad cholesterol can also be bad for your circulatory health. Understanding how both of these affect the health of your heart, and how they interact, can be one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of problems from high blood pressure, to heart attack and stroke.
Reducing Sodium And Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Burden
- Lowering high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.13 Adults with elevated and high blood pressure especially benefit from lowering their blood pressure.6
- If manufacturers gradually reduced the amount of sodium in processed and prepared foods, public consumption of sodium could be reduced to safer levels with little or no change in behavior on the part of the individual consumer.14
- Sodium intake from processed and restaurant foods contributes to high rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Because nearly 500,000 deaths each year are related to high blood pressure, reducing sodium intake could prevent thousands of deaths annually.15
- Reducing average population sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day may save $18 billion in health care dollars and reduce cases of high blood pressure by 11 million annually.16
- Sodium reduction continues to be an effective and safe strategy to lower blood pressure.3,11,17,18
- Lowering blood pressure reduces and prevents heart attacks and stroke.19
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Make Sure Your Muffins Are Low Fat
Sure, you can get an English muffin with no saturated fat and no cholesterol, but many other muffins especially those tempting treats loaded with extra ingredients that you can buy or bake at home could have up to 8 g of fat in a single serving and may even have more than one serving in a single muffin. A low-fat bran muffin made with whole-wheat flour that gives you some fiber and a lot less fat is a much better choice. Look for one that is made with plant oils for the healthiest fat profile.
Salt And Cardiovascular Disease
Salt consumption has been extensively studied for its role in human physiology and impact on human health. Chronic, high intake of dietary salt consumption is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease, in addition to other adverse health outcomes. Major health and scientific organizations, such as the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Heart Association, have established high salt consumption as a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Common edible salt is the chemical compound known as sodium chloride.
Do You Have High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is a natural and essential part of all cells in your body. It helps produce hormones, make vitamin D, provide cells with structure, and plays a role in the process of digesting fats. The liver creates all of the cholesterol that your body needs, so it is not required that you get it from foods. Foods that come from animals such as meat, cheese, and eggs all provide dietary cholesterol to the body.
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins . HDL is thought of as the good type of cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from your blood to your liver to be removed. This is helpful to the heart. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol: It causes a buildup of cholesterol in the blood, which leads to furring up of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis and is a direct cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. They are separate to and different from cholesterol, but they are nearly always included in the cholesterol lab panel since they have a similar effect on your heart and overall health. Triglycerides come from eating too many calories . These extra calories are stored in the blood as triglycerides. High triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease and problems in your pancreas and liver, including fatty liver disease.
Here are the normal ranges for cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adults :