Salt and Blood Pressure

June 13/Islamabad, Pakistan/Right Vision News -- Reducing salt consumption to control blood pressure will require more than just keep the salt shaker off the table.

Many prepared foods, including soups, cereals, frozen dinners and canned vegetables, contain large amounts of salt, warn University of Michigan (U-M) Health System experts. The result can be higher blood pressure in people with hypertension.

"Because hypertension is an enormous contributor to strokes, heart failure and heart attacks, that makes controlling it a great problem for patients and for physicians," said Dr. Lee Green, an associate professor of family medicine.

For example, canned soup can have nearly 1,000mg of salt in a one-cup serving. Dietary guidelines warn against more than 2,400mg of salt a day.

Even seemingly healthy foods can contain high amounts of salt. For instance, some varieties of raisin bran cereal have more than 350mg of salt per cup. Many canned vegetables have 300-400mg of salt in a half-cup serving, the researchers said.

Other examples of foods with high amounts of salt include salad dressings, prepared frozen meals, packaged rice dishes and low-calorie products.

The U-M experts offered advice on reducing salt in the diet: reducing the amount of processed foods eaten; carefully reading food labels to assess salt content; purchasing low-salt versions of frozen dinners and canned soups; using herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking; cutting the intake of salty crackers and snack foods; and eating fresh foods. When at a restaurant, select steamed or grilled dishes. Avoid stir-fry dishes, soups and foods with salty dressings or dipping sauces.

From the June 14, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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