High Blood Pressure, Seniors and Salt

Many of my friends are senior citizens and some have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or a heart condition. They have been advised by their doctor to limit their salt and sodium intake. (Personally I think that is good advice even for those of us with normal blood pressure).

Usually the first thing they do is buy a salt substitute to sprinkle on their food. Obviously because they like their food to taste like salt. But many of these seniors don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking or shopping for fresh foods, so they buy packaged and processed foods in a bag or box to heat up in the microwave. Okay, that’s convenient for them. However, they seem to be missing the irony of sprinkling a salt substitute on a sodium based food product.

I Did Some Research on Sodium Consumption

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a very simple 3 part breakdown for where we get most of our sodium:

Packaged, processed and restaurant food gives us 77% of our sodium intake.
12% naturally in foods
Adding salt to food during preparation or salting at the table is responsible for 11%

It appears to me that sprinkling salt on food isn’t the culprit, our enemy is processed and restaurant food.

Salt Substitutes

The National Library of Medicine suggests that someone using a salt substitute should first consult with their doctor to see if it’s safe to consume extra amounts of potassium.

Limiting Salt Intake

The National Library of Medicine recommends buying fresh fruits and vegetables as they are low in salt and buying fresh meat, fish and chicken. Using a salt substitute on fresh foods is an acceptable alternative to regular salt.

The preparation time is much greater with fresh food, but it’s worth the effort.

 

photo credit:  Wikipedia Commons Public Domain


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