How is Salt Linked to Blood Pressure? Let’s Understand the Facts!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

is Good For High Blood Pressure
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Why is salt under the limelight while talking about blood pressure (BP)? Let’s see. 
Salt is something without which your food becomes tasteless. Yes! It is an essential part of your daily diet and is also important for the normal functioning of your body. However, as the saying goes – “Too much of anything is bad”. The key lies in balancing the amount of salt in your diet.
Salt is a mineral that is also called sodium chloride. It is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Salt, when taken in higher amounts than what is recommended, can affect your body adversely. It can increase your blood pressure and put you at risk of heart and kidney diseases. Read on to know how much salt is too much and which salt is good for high blood pressure.
Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How Does Salt Affect Your Blood Pressure Levels?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Daily Recommendation of Salt for High Blood Pressure?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Types of Salt Available?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Which is the Best Salt for High Blood Pressure?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Salt for BP Patients?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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How Does Salt Affect Your Blood Pressure Levels?

Salt is an essential part of your daily diet. Other than adding flavor to your food, it plays an important role in various bodily functions. Your body requires salt to regulate nerve impulses, contract and relax muscles, and maintain a balance of water and minerals. Normally, your kidneys control the amount of salt in the body by excreting the excess salt through urine. However, when the salt intake levels are too high, your kidneys will not be able to keep up this function and the excess salt remains in the body. 

Salt attracts and holds water, increasing the blood volume. Blood pressure, which is the force exerted by the flowing blood on the walls of your blood vessels, is dependent on blood volume. Increased levels of salt in the body can lead to fluid retention and increased blood volume, thus leading to high blood pressure

What is the Daily Recommendation of Salt for High Blood Pressure?

It is necessary to consume salt every day for the normal functioning of your body. However, individuals who have high blood pressure need to keep a watch on their salt intake. The daily recommended limit of salt is 2300 mg but most of us end up consuming much higher quantities. With high blood pressure, you should limit yourself to not more than 2000 mg of salt per day.

What are the Types of Salt Available?

Salt is a naturally occurring substance that is harvested either from seawater or rock-salt deposits in salt mines. Salts are of different types and they vary in their taste and texture depending on how they are processed. They also differ in their sodium content. Let’s take a look at the different types of salts:

Table Salt 

Table salt is mined from salt deposits and is processed to remove other natural minerals. It is fortified with iodine, which is important for the functioning of your thyroid gland. One teaspoon of table salt contains about 2360 mg of sodium. 

Sea Salt

Sea salt is made by evaporating seawater and is less processed when compared to table salt. It retains traces of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Sea salt has bigger crystals when compared to table salt and is lower in its sodium content. One teaspoon of sea salt contains 2000 mg of sodium. 

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt is a coarse-grained salt made from salt crystals. Kosher salt is unrefined and rarely contains any additives. It is usually not iodized. Iodine promotes the production of thyroid hormones. Kosher salt is therefore ideal for use in those who have a hyperactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). One teaspoon of kosher salt contains 1120 mg of sodium.

Himalayan Pink Salt

It is a pink-hued salt that is mined from the Himalayan mountains. It is minimally processed and therefore contains naturally occurring minerals. This gives it a natural pink color. As Himalayan pink salt is unrefined, it is higher in its mineral content and is low in sodium when compared to regular table salt. One teaspoon of Himalayan salt contains 1680 mg of sodium. 
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Which is the Best Salt for High Blood Pressure?

For high blood pressure patients, Himalayan pink salt is a better alternative to regular table salt as it is much lower in sodium content. Compared to 2360 mg of sodium per teaspoon in table salt, Himalayan salt contains only 1680 mg of sodium, which is a reduction by one-third.

What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Salt for BP Patients?

A high intake of salt can increase your blood pressure, which can eventually lead to the hardening of your blood vessels. This can affect the normal functioning of your vital organs such as your heart and kidneys. Here are some of the risks associated with the overconsumption of salt in high blood pressure. 
  • Kidney Disorders: 

Excess sodium can lead to fluid buildup in the body. This puts a load on your kidneys and they become incapable of removing the excess amount of sodium and fluid from your body. It can thus affect the normal functioning of the kidneys, increasing the risk of chronic kidney disease. 
  • Heart Diseases: 

High salt intake can increase your blood pressure which in turn affects the health of your blood vessels. Eventually, this causes increased resistance to the blood flow through the small arteries. In this case, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood against the resistance. This gradually weakens your heart and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Bone Disorders: 

High levels of sodium in the body can cause calcium to leach through your urine. Calcium is necessary for maintaining the health of your bones. Therefore, excess salt intake can lead to osteoporosis (a condition where your bones become weak and brittle) or other bone disorders.
  • Hypernatremia: 

It is a medical term used to describe excess sodium in the body. The main symptom of the condition is excessive thirst. It is usually not a serious condition but hypernatremia that occurs rapidly and requires immediate attention. The treatment is based on correcting the sodium and fluid balance in the body.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Salt is a mineral that is also called sodium chloride. It is made up of about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Salt, when taken in higher amounts than recommended, can affect your body adversely. 
  • It can increase your blood pressure and put you at risk of heart and kidney diseases. 
  • Normally, your kidneys control the amount of salt in the body by excreting the excess salt through urine. However, when the salt intake levels are too high, your kidneys will not be able to keep up with this function and the excess salt remains in the body. 
  • Salt attracts and holds water, increasing the blood volume. An increase in your blood volume raises your blood pressure (the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of your arteries).
  • The daily recommended limit of salt is 2300 mg for healthy adults. With high blood pressure, you should limit yourself to not more than 2000 mg of salt per day.
  • Choosing the right salt and controlling your daily intake is key to controlling your blood pressure. 
  • Himalayan pink salt is a better alternative to regular table salt for high BP patients as it is much lower in sodium content. Compared to 2360 mg of sodium per teaspoon in table salt, Himalayan pink salt contains only 1680 mg of sodium, which is a reduction of one-third.
  • A high intake of salt in BP patients can lead to complications such as heart diseases, kidney disorders, and weakening of bones.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading cardiologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate BP monitors and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Hypertension Management program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat high blood pressure problems together

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! It is ok to have salt if you have high blood pressure but in controlled quantities. Individuals with high blood pressure should limit themselves to 2000 mg of salt per day.

Yes. Rock salt is rich in potassium, which helps balance the sodium levels in the body and thus helps in controlling your blood pressure. 

As soon as sodium enters your bloodstream, it changes your electrolyte balance. This triggers a shift in your body fluids and increases your blood pressure. 

If your blood pressure has spiked, firstly try to stay calm. Focus on your breathing and take deep breaths. Take  a deep breath, and hold it for a few seconds before exhaling. This will help in bringing down your blood pressure. This change would, however, be temporary and if your BP is constantly high (>140/90 mm Hg), you will need to consult a doctor at the earliest. 

Too little sodium or salt does not cause high blood pressure. It can lead to fluid imbalance in the body causing dehydration. It can cause symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and irritability. You can aim to consume at least 2300 mg of salt in a day. 

Himalayan pink salt is a better option for high blood pressure patients when compared to regular table salt as its sodium content is much lower than that of table salt.

Focusing on your diet would be the best natural solution to high blood pressure. Avoid foods that have a high sodium content, such as fried and processed food. Choose food that is low in sodium such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Also, fruits and vegetables are generally high in potassium, which helps control your sodium levels and therefore reduce your blood pressure.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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