Health & Fitness Hypertension diet: 4 everyday foods with more salt than a bag of crisps

12:15  23 october  2021
12:15  23 october  2021 Source:   express.co.uk

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Too much salt or sodium can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure. An important part of a high blood pressure treatment plan is to stick to a healthy diet , including limiting sodium intake. People with hypertension may need to restrict sodium intake even more . The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for adults with high blood pressure. (2). To stay on track, choose low-sodium and no-added- salt foods and seasonings, and read nutrition facts labels carefully to determine the amount of sodium added to

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . The DASH diet is a healthy-eating plan designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure ( hypertension ). The DASH diet includes foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. It meets the recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to keep daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day . That's roughly the amount of sodium in 1 teaspoon of table salt . A lower sodium version of DASH restricts sodium to 1,500 mg a day . You can choose the version of the diet that meets your health needs.

It isn't always obvious when a food is high in salt, especially if the food is also high in sugar. You might be surprised by which four everyday foods contain more salt than a bag of salted crisps. Express.co.uk is joined by an expert nutritionist to bust myths around salt content: including why cheaper salt is actually a healthier choice.

Can you taste when a food is high in salt?

Ordinarily, yes. When cooking, if you add too much salt to a sauce or to your meal, you can taste you've gone overboard.

But some everyday foods have high levels of 'hidden' salt; meaning you can't taste how much salt they contain.

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Read More : High cholesterol: Three ‘small changes’ to your diet . When you have high blood pressure, the force of blood against your artery walls is high and this can lead to health problems. If you have hypertension , there are key lifestyle changes you can make to reverse it. Eating too much salt can cause your body to retain fluid. The NHS says adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2. 4 g sodium) – which is around one teaspoon. The following foods are almost always high in salt . To cut down on salt , eat them less often and have smaller amounts

In Greece, dolmades can be much more than tiny rolls of grape leaves stuffed with a vegetable rice mixture. Green peppers and tomatoes are frequently used, served with yogurt and the traditional fries. Hide Caption. It's not even a diet in the weight loss sense of the word. It's a way of life for people in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. In addition to incorporating foods and ingredients that are local to the region, the diet takes a broader, lifestyle-based approach that also emphasizes mindfully enjoying meals with family and friends and getting up and moving throughout the day .


Although food companies have to comply with the law by publishing the amount of salt on their label, if you don't check carefully you may be surprised by the foods containing huge amounts of salt.

Why is salt so bad for you?

Sheena Bhageerutty, ANutr, Assistant Nutritionist at Action on Salt said: "Salt was the leading cause of diet-related death in 2019.

"There's very strong evidence linking eating too much salt with developing high blood pressure.

"What happens with high blood pressure is you don't feel it, it doesn't have any symptoms so it's often referred to as the 'silent killer'."

Sheena says the average Briton eats 8.6 grams of salt per day - way over the recommended maximum limit of six grams a day, and Sheena emphasises this is a MAXIMUM, not a target.

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Increasing production of more and more processed food , rapid urbanization, and changing lifestyles are transforming dietary patterns. Highly processed foods are increasing in availability and becoming more affordable. People around the world are consuming more energy-dense foods that are high in Salt in the diet can come from processed foods , either because they are particularly high in salt (such as ready meals, processed meats like bacon, ham and salami, cheese, salty snack foods , and instant noodles, among others) or because they are consumed frequently in large amounts (such as bread

READ MORE : Hypertension diet : The 4 foods that could lower blood pressure - including a glass of wine. High blood pressure: Chickpeas can lower a high blood pressure reading (Image: Getty Images). What do these numbers mean? Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful," says the NHS. "Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure," explains the health body. "Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day ."

high blood pressure check © Getty high blood pressure check

The main culprit for high salt content is processed foods, such as ready meals, but there are many more foods with surprisingly high levels of salt.

Sheena says some foods even use a "health halo", to appear as a healthy product, but actually have high levels of salt.

The 4 everyday foods with high levels of hidden salt

Hot chocolate

Sheena says: "lots of people might not realise a portion of hot chocolate could have the same amount of salt as a packet of crisps."

In fact, research from Action on Salt found one high street hot chocolate contained more salt than sea water!

Containing 0.6 grams of salt per portion, this hot chocolate was 16 times higher than the Government's 2017 target for drinks, and almost double the amount of salt in a bag of ready salted crisps.

So, make sure you check the label - even if you think 'sugar' is the one to watch out for.

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A great many people eat too much salt as a part of their diet , which has long term implications for their health. High salt intake is associated with increased blood pressure and as a consequence increased risk of Cardiovascular complications. For pure academic interest, let’s look at another scenario that’s technically not what the question asks for, but is interesting nonetheless. In healthcare, it is all very common to attach someone to an IV bag of fluid to help regulate blood volume or correct electrolyte imbalances.

Health warriors have waged war on toddler snacks that contain nearly as much or more salt per 100g than a packet of crisps . A new study has revealed the shocking amounts of salt in some 'healthy' children's treats, including some snacks by top toddler It can also give them a preference for salty foods , which can lead to health problems in adulthood such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. Dr Frankie Phillips, nutrition advisor to Organix, said: 'Children need a diet low in salt . Salty snacks aimed for adults are completely unsuitable for little ones because of the

Bread © Getty Bread


Sheena says: "Bread is actually one of the biggest contributors of salt to our diet, particularly if you have bread with multiple meals, for example having toast at breakfast then a bagel for lunch."

Fresh Soup

One fresh chicken soup from a popular brand contained 1.5 grams of salt per portion - and that's before you season your bowl with salt and pepper at home.

Frozen pizza

Ready meals are one of the main culprits when it comes to high levels of salt, while frozen pizza can contain less salt than takeaway pizza, it's still pretty high!

One frozen pizza from a UK supermarket contained 3 grams of salt per pizza: half of your maximum recommended daily amount.

pizza © Getty pizza

'Healthy' snacks

Sheena says: "So-called healthy snacks, such as crisps made from lentils or chickpeas, may seem to be so much healthier than your standard packet of crisps, but they contain unnecessarily high levels of salt."

Action on Salt surveyed 119 pulse-based snacks and found 70 percent were "high in salt", meaning they contain more than 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams.

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How to eat less salt

It's clear there's hidden salt everywhere, so as well as being mindful of how much salt you add when cooking, you will have to check the labels of all your food when you're doing the weekly shop.

Sheena recommends an app called FoodSwitch. Using this app you can scan the barcode of your food items, and the app will let you know the salt content, and recommend similar foods containing less salt.

Sheena also suggests avoiding high-salt stock cubes, and making your own vegetable stock with leftover vegetable peelings.

Ramping up your flavour games with seasonings other than salt can help too.

Sheena says: "Use more spices and citrus instead of salt to add flavour to food. My favourite at the minute is oregano, garlic, lemon and chilli flakes."

Lastly, don't fall for fads. Sheena says despite hype around himalayan salt and other types of rock salt, these are more expensive and not any "healthier" than regular salt.

Sheena says: "Because finer grain salt tends to taste saltier you actually use less. As some salts, like himalayan salt, have a less strong flavour, you can actually use more.

"There's no point spending that much, you're better off using finer grains and table salt."

Studies suggest dairy may actually be GOOD for us .
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