Your body needs sodium, but high sodium levels in the blood can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney damage. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, Americans consume at least 1-1/2 tsp. of salt each day. This is about twice the amount you should consume if you have high blood pressure. In addition, you may not be consuming certain foods that help balance electrolytes. When affected by the offset of sodium levels in your blood, you need to follow a sodium-reduction plan.
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Consume potassium-rich foods. Potassium helps balance sodium levels. Colorado State University Extension recommends following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet. It consists of low-sodium, low-fat foods that are rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium. The diet should consist of no more than 1,500 mg of sodium each day. Consume raw fruit, meat, milk, and green, leafy vegetables for your potassium needs.
Eliminate processed foods to reduce sodium levels. Processed foods contain high amounts of sodium for preserving food to keep it fresh longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, processed foods contribute up to 75 percent of sodium in the American diet. If you habitually eat frozen dinners and other processed food, prepare your own home-cooked meals – without adding salt.
Flavor your foods with spices and eat spicy foods. Spices and spicy foods increase metabolism so your body can get rid of extra sodium in the body at a faster pace. In addition, spices add flavor to your foods, so you do not need to use the salt shaker. You won’t feel salt-deprived on a low-sodium diet.
Exercise daily to reduce sodium levels in the blood. When you exercise, your body gets rid of sodium through perspiration. Water dilutes sodium levels and replaces lost water from perspiration. Bill Gottlieb, author of "Alternative Cures," recommends a five-minute walk each day if you already have high blood pressure. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.
- Havard School of Public Health: Salt and Sodium
- Colorado State University Extension: Sodium in the Diet
- CDC: Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines
- "Alternative Cures"; Bill Gottlieb; 2000