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Choose and Prepare Foods with Less Salt

Many people can reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure by consuming less salt. Several other steps can also help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. In the body, sodium – which you get mainly from salt – plays an essential role in regulating fluids and blood pressure. Many studies in diverse populations have shown that a high sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure.

There is no way to tell who might develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt. However, consuming less salt or sodium is not harmful and can be recommended for the healthy, normal person.

At present, the firmest link between salt intake and health relates to blood pressure. High salt intake also increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. Eating less salt may decrease the loss of calcium from bone. Loss of too much calcium from bone increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Salt is found mainly in processed and prepared foods

Salt (sodium chloride) is the main source of sodium in foods. Only small amounts of salt occur naturally in foods. Most of the salt you eat comes from foods that have added salt during food processing or during preparation in a restaurant or at home. Some recipes include table salt or a salty broth or sauce, and some cooking styles call for adding a very salty seasoning such as soy sauce. Not all foods with added salt taste salty. Some people add salt or a salty seasoning to their food at the table. Your preference for salt may decrease if you gradually add smaller amounts of salt or salty seasonings to your food over a period of time.

Provided by the United States Department of Agriculture

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