Reduced salt intake correlates with lower blood pressure.
Diet and exercise are health factors people can control.
Even so, making changes in these areas is often intimidating.
People either make lofty plans and fail to follow through or never take action to improve their health.
According to a recent Verywell article titled “Diet or Exercise: Which One Is Better for Managing Blood Pressure?” starting small is the key to making sustainable adjustments.
Poor diet and exercise habits are associated with high blood pressure and being overweight or obese.
NYU Langone cardiologist Sean Heffron, MD, notes that people often find greater success when focusing on diet first.
Exercise is often easier and more comfortable after a little weight has already been lost.
Additionally, poor dietary habits can cause long-term damage to the body.
Reducing salt consumption is one of the most important lifestyle changes a person can make to lower blood pressure.
When people consume salt in excess, their bodies retain fluid.
Although the extra fluid helps the body maintain the proper equilibrium in cells and tissues, it also leads to greater strain on the bloodstream.
As a result, blood pressure increases.
Although people should start by reducing how often they salt their foods, they should also be aware of the sodium content in the food before adding table salt.
Sodium is often added to processed foods as a preservative to increase shelf life.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the primary culprits for sodium in the American diet are packaged, prepared, and restaurant foods.
In fact, it is estimated these account for 70 percent of sodium.
Why is reducing blood pressure recommended?
By lowering your blood pressure, you can simultaneously reduce your risk of health issues or events related to heart disease and hypertension.
Although cutting back on salt consumption and making other diet and physical activity changes can reduce blood pressure, some people may require additional support to lower their numbers.
Age and genetics also impact cardiovascular health.
Consequently, medications and other actions may be required to reduce blood pressure.
Reference: Verywell (July 26, 2023) “Diet or Exercise: Which One Is Better for Managing Blood Pressure?”