Salt restriction?

Prepared food (in restaurants and grocery stores) is laden with salt.  I used to have high blood pressure, but as I lost weight, my blood pressure normalized, and I stopped taking medication for hypertension.  I also limited my salt intake – mostly by not eating out, and by using non-salt spices. (Attn:  most “seasonings,” such as “Cajun seasoning” or “steak seasoning” have salt as thier 1st ingredient.)  My main source of salt is hot sauce, but it’s not as much as most folks think.

Recommended daily salt intake is lower for older folks and African Americans like me.  However, I’m wondering if I’ve gone too far.  My BP the other day was 117/70 (I check in at least once a month at the gym).  Now that it’s hot and sticky and I’m sweating more, I’m feeling a little light headed sometimes, despite drinking water.  Maybe I need a little less green tea (diuretic effects) and a little more salt!

In fact, some recent scientific reviews have questioned how much salt restriction helps:

Salt reduction was associated with … reductions in systolic BP between 1 and 4 mm Hg.

Other researches think that what’s more important is to eat a diet rich in magnesium and potassium.  Click the links for more details.  Food sources for potassium?:

Food Sources

Many foods contain potassium. All meats (red meat and chicken) and fish such as salmon, cod, flounder, and sardines are good sources of potassium. Soy products and veggie burgers are also good sources of potassium.

Vegetables including broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes (especially their skins), sweet potatoes, and winter squashes are all good sources of potassium.

Fruits that contain significant sources of potassium include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes, and apricots. Dried apricots contain more potassium than fresh apricots.

Milk and yogurt, as well as nuts, are also excellent sources of potassium.

People on dialysis for kidney failure should avoid consuming too many of these potassium-rich foods. These people require specialized diets to avoid excess potassium in the blood


Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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