In consultation with Dr Benjamin Lam, Head & Family Physician, Senior Consultant, Family and Community Medicine, KTPH, and Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, KTPH, it’s time to know the correlation between salt and blood pressure.
Salt is salt.
Regardless of ‘natural sea salt’, ‘pink Himalayan salt’ or ‘organic salt’, all salt is basically the same. While it can vary in size, texture, and even price, it is chemically the same thing: sodium chloride. This means that whichever salt you use has the same impact on blood pressure.
With elevated blood pressure, it means that the kidneys must work harder to remove excess fluid that pushes against the blood vessels, making them stiff and narrow, which affects the flow of blood and oxygen to the organs, and now the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body.
Salt is everywhere.
Not only preserved and processed foods contain high sodium levels. Hidden salt is present in dry foods like bread and cereal, as well as in condiments such as tomato sauce and sambal. Typically, 75% of our sodium intake originates from salt, sauces, and seasonings used in stir-fries, marinades, or stock. Approximately 20% is derived from processed foods like biscuits and sausages, while the remaining 5% occurs naturally in meats and seafood.
What is the magic number?
1 teaspoon (about 5g) of salt per day = 2,000mg of sodium per day.
To keep within a healthy sodium intake, use spices, herbs, or zests to flavour your homecooked food instead of salt or sauces. When eating out, be sure to follow these tips to help you eat healthily.
What is the solution?
Opt for a potassium-enriched salt substitute instead of regular salt. This salt, chemically known as potassium chloride, is lower in sodium and thus has less impact on blood pressure. However, too much potassium is not advisable for some people, so speak with your doctors to check if potassium-enriched salt is suitable for you.