Lowering your sodium intake may help lower high blood pressure, according to the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. The recommended sodium intake is no more than 2,300 mg per day, but most Americans exceed that amount. If your blood pressure remains high on 2,300 mg of sodium daily, recommendations are to lower intake to 1,600 mg per day.
Sodium and Blood Pressure
The mineral sodium is a component of salt. Your nerves and muscles require sodium for proper functioning, and your kidneys require it -- along with potassium -- for osmosis, the process by which extra fluid is removed from your blood. When you consume excess sodium, your body retains fluid, which increases your blood volume and pressure.
Sodium and Nutrition Labels
Even if you stop adding salt to your food, you can still exceed the recommended amount if you eat processed foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that packaged and restaurant foods account for 77 percent of an average American’s sodium intake. If you have high blood pressure, check the sodium content on nutrition labels even if the food does not taste salty.
Sodium content is listed for one serving, so take into account how many servings you are eating. The amount is shown both in milligrams and as a percentage of a daily value of 2,400 mg. You will have a more accurate picture of your sodium intake if you rely on the reported milligrams rather than the percentage, especially if you follow the 1,600 mg per day recommendation.
- PubMed Health: Sodium in Diet
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Hypertension Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline
- Blood Pressure UK: Salt’s Effects on Your Body
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Sodium in Your Diet: Using the Nutrition Facts Label to Reduce Your Intake
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: JNC 7 Express