Health Watch - Preventing Hypertension: Salt

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about preventing and dealing with high blood pressure. The most important dietary factor in preventing and treating high blood pressure is reducing sodium consumption. That may soon be a lot easier.

Most of the salt in the American diet doesn’t come from the salt shaker. It comes in packaged and processed foods – even foods you don’t think of as salty, such as breakfast cereal. Federal regulators are urging manufacturers to reduce the amount of sodium they add to packaged foods. The idea is to gradually reduce the amount so that people wouldn’t notice the change.

Dr. Jo Ann Carson, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says this should make it easier for Americans to reduce their salt intake, which is important for controlling blood pressure. The average American eats about a teaspoon and a half of salt a day – about twice the recommended amount.       

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September 2010


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