If you have raised blood pressure, one of the first steps you should be taking is to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Even if you don't add salt to your meal at the table, you may well still be eating too much of it. Around 75% of the salt we eat is already included in every day foods such as bread, ketchup, packet soups and cereals.
Why is salt so bad for us?
Salt in our bloodstream will make our body hold onto water, and that extra water in the body lifts our blood pressure which in turn increases the strain on our heart. This puts us at risk of a number of very serious health conditions, such as heart attack,stroke,kidney disease and even dementia.
Current guidelines suggest that adults shouldn't eat more than six grams of salt a day (around a teaspoon), while children under 11 should eat even less. Eating more salt than this per day means increasing the sodium in our bloodstream, which makes our kidneys less effective at drawing water out of our blood. The result of this is that our kidneys find it more difficult to remove toxic waste products from inside us, which will then build up in our body and can then be harmful to our health.
There are a number of foods which contain high levels of salt, with processed foods particularly problematic. It is sensible for all of us to cut down on the amount of these we eat. This includes foods such as anchovies, cheese, sausages, bacon, ham, peanuts, smoked meat and fish and stock cubes. Checking labels before you buy packed sandwiches and ready meals can also be helpful, as both often contain high amounts of salt, while you can often swap crisps for lower salt alternatives.