What Are Good Ways to Lower Sodium for Someone Who Has High Blood Pressure?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 29, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What are good ways to lower sodium in the diet of someone who has high blood pressure but loves the taste of salt?


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

There are several ways to lower someone's sodium intake without sacrificing taste:

Serve fewer processed foods overall. That includes anything from canned soup and vegetables to cold cuts to packaged goods (like most crackers, baking mixes, cookies, and one-meal mixes). Most of the sodium in the Western diet comes from processing, rather than through the saltshaker.

Don't leave salt available on the table. Older people, especially, have a tendency to grab the salt (even before tasting) to more strongly season foods. Often they no longer taste foods -- possibly due to illness, medication, or less sensitive taste buds.

Increase the flavor "oomph" of foods. When you use less table salt, it's important to be prepared for a period of adjustment as taste buds change. Compensating by increasing other flavorings will help. Try flavors known to announce themselves: garlic, onion, scallions, turmeric, cumin, curry, ginger, cinnamon, red or green pepper.

Opt for lower-sodium versions when you do choose packaged products. The taste is often similar.

Pick your battles. If someone really favors a particular high-sodium food (such as bacon), let him eat it in moderate amounts. But cut back in other areas, such as serving fewer packaged crackers and rinsing canned beans several times to remove sodium.


Community Answers

Evey answered...

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