High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes if left untreated, so it’s important to take steps to lower it if your blood pressure is high. One way to achieve this is to improve your diet, particularly by cutting down on salty foods. In fact, in some cases eating less salt can be enough on its own to lower blood pressure. Salt can be hidden in certain foods, such as ready meals and bread, without you realising, so always check the labels to see how much salt these products contain.
Try to eat high-salt foods only occasionally, or in small amounts, and aim to eat mainly foods that are green or amber [on the nutrition label]
Bread has a number of health benefits, so it’s not recommended to completely cut it from your diet if your blood pressure is high.
But there are certain types of bread which contain less or no salt and are therefore more beneficial if you need to cut down on salt.
“Bread is an important part of our diet because it is high in carbohydrates and fibre, low in fat and a good source of energy,” said Blood Pressure UK.
“Unfortunately, most manufactured bread you buy in bakers or supermarkets contains large amounts of salt – acting to raise your blood pressure.”
“While it is true that the salt content of some of the sliced breads has been reduced, they still contain 0.4 to 0.5g of sodium per 100g of bread – that’s the same as 1g of salt per 100g.”
This means one slice of bread, which is around 40g, contains half a gram of salt, while six slices of bread contain 3g of salt. The recommended daily limit of salt is 6g.
If you eat a lot of bread, you could cut down on salt intake by finding salt-free bread.
This can be difficult, so Blood Pressure UK suggests asking a local baker to make a batch of bread without salt.
Alternatively, making your own salt-free bread is also an option.
Wholemeal, fruit loaf and naan bread are good options which can be made by hand or using a bread maker.
Aside from bread, it’s also important to look at the salt content of other foods.
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Other foods which are high in salt include anchovies, bacon, cheese, gravy granules, ham, olives and pickles.
Prawns, salami, salted and dry-roasted nuts, salt fish, smoked meat and fish, soy sauce, stock cubes and yeast extract are also high in salt.
Cut down on them by eating them less often and in smaller portions.
“Try to eat high-salt foods only occasionally, or in small amounts, and aim to eat mainly foods that are green or amber [on the nutrition label],” said the NHS.
As well as eating less salt, health experts advise limiting your intake of foods which are high in saturated fat in order to lower your blood pressure, while exercising regularly.
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High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
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