Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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While the daily maximum salt intake is pretty straightforward, it can be difficult to determine how much salt you’re actually eating as it’s often hidden in many foods. And one group of ingredients that could be especially risky for your hypertension is “salty flavourings”.
Certain foods can provide a helping hand when you’re trying to cut high blood pressure. However, others should be avoided, warns Blood Pressure UK.
To keep your levels within the healthy range, the charity also advises keeping your salt intake in check.
While you might not suspect stock cubes or gravy granules from hiking your blood pressure risk, Blood Pressure UK says to “avoid” them.
A staple of a Chinese takeout – soy sauce – also made this list of “very salty flavourings”.
The charity said: “Ready-made sauces, soy sauce, stock cubes and gravy granules can all be very salty.
“Look out for low salt options or try some new flavourings.”
In case you’re not aware, the NHS stresses you shouldn’t have more than six grams of salt per day, which represents 2.4 grams of sodium.
While one singular stock cube won’t tip this balance over, it’s about making sure the salt content in your daily menu doesn’t quietly climb over the limit.
However, soy sauce is a bit trickier as it scores the highest in its salt content.
A store-bought bottle of the fermented flavouring usually contains around 2.1 grams of salt in a single tablespoon.
When you put that against your daily maximum intake, just one tablespoon would account for 35 percent.
What’s worse, a report from The George Institute for Global Health, VicHealth and the Heart Foundation warns that certain brands of the Asian sauce can contain a staggering 61 percent of your daily intake.
How does salt raise high blood pressure?
Considered the “single biggest” cause of hypertension, salt’s trickiness stems from water retention.
The common seasoning makes your body hold onto water.
This extra water in your blood puts extra pressure on your arteries, raising your blood pressure, Blood Pressure UK details.
Plus, if your hypertension levels are already in the red zone, salt can exacerbate this problem.
What’s worse, eating too much salt can lead to further health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke.
Luckily, cutting back on the common seasoning is one of the simplest ways to lower your reading, the charity advises.
“And [it] will start to make a difference very quickly, even within weeks,” it says.
To take back the control of your salt intake, Blood Pressure UK recommends looking at the labels and avoiding foods with high salt content, which is 1.5 grams or more per 100 grams of the food.
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