Everyone responds to salt in the same way.
False. Most of us are either salt sensitive or salt resistant. Your level of salt sensitivity or resistance is determined by many factors, including genetics, race/ethnicity, age, body size and general diet. Salt sensitivity is defined as when a person’s blood pressure changes significantly from increasing or decreasing salt in the diet. Older people, overweight people, women, African-Americans and South Asians are examples of groups that are known to have greater salt sensitivity.
The issue of salt sensitivity underlies the reason that many studies show conflicting results about the impact of sodium on health for the general population. Some people don’t experience changes in blood pressure or water retention when eating salt and others do, depending on their salt sensitivity. Most studies tend to report averages but ultimately it’s the salt-sensitive people who should be most concerned about sodium intake.
How can you tell if you are salt sensitive? There’s no easy medical test for salt sensitivity, but if you can, watch out for certain symptoms. In general, eating a healthy diet low in processed foods, high in fruits and vegetables, and lots of home-cooked meals, is a safe bet for everyone.
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