Low Sodium Foods for People with High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Photo of Daisy Whitbread Written by Daisy Whitbread
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Dr. Thomas Kutner
Evidence Based. References sourced from PubMed.
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Low Sodium Foods for People with High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Sodium is essential for maintaining blood pressure and transmitting nerve impulses. (1)

Sodium, together with chloride forms table salt or sodium chloride. Added salt is a top source of sodium in most diets.

Over-consumption of sodium increases the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), which in turn increases the risk of heart disease. (2,3)

If you have high blood pressure you should restrict your consumption of sodium while increasing your consumption of potassium. (4,5,6)

The current daily value (DV) for sodium is 2300mg (7), however, the American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure eat less than 1500mg per day or less than 3/4 of a tablespoon of salt. (8)

Fortunately, almost all foods are naturally low in sodium so it is easy to avoid consuming sodium if you stick to eating whole unprocessed foods without adding any salt or sauces. A low sodium diet is more of an exercise in avoiding high sodium foods, than eating low sodium foods.

Healthy low sodium foods include vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, legumes, nuts, meats, oils, and fish. Be sure foods are not canned, or otherwise prepared with salt, or sauces that contain salt. Below is a list of the top 10 foods lowest in sodium for your blood pressure diet.

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Data Sources and References

  1. Goyal R, Jialal I. Electrolytes 2023 Jun 12. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan–. 31869067
  2. He FJ, MacGregor GA. Effects of High Salt Intake on Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease: The Role of COX Inhibitors J Hum Hypertens. 2009 Jun;23(6):363-84. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2008.144. Epub 2008 Dec 25. 19110538
  3. Piccirillo G, Bucca C, Durante M, Santagada E, Munizzi MR, Cacciafesta M, Marigliano V. Sodium Intake and Hypertension Hypertension. 1996 Dec;28(6):944-52. doi: 10.1161/01.hyp.28.6.944. 8952581
  4. Fodor JG, Whitmore B, Leenen F, Larochelle P. Salt and hypertension: is salt dietary reduction worth the effort? CMAJ. 1999 May 4;160(9 Suppl):S29-34. 10333851
  5. Brand A, Visser ME, Schoonees A, Naude CE. Effect of low sodium and high potassium diet on lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular events Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2022 Aug 10;8(8):CD015207. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD015207. 35944931
  6. Skrabal F, Auböck J, Hörtnagl H, Braunsteiner H. Low sodium/high potassium diet for prevention of hypertension: probable mechanisms of action Clin Sci (Lond). 1980 Dec;59 Suppl 6:157s-160s. doi: 10.1042/cs059157s. 7004723
  7. U.S.FDA - Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels
  8. Ströhle A. [Sodium intake, blood pressure and cardiovascular events] Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2017 Sep;87(5-6):322-329. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000257. Epub 2018 Oct 9. 30299218
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