Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke and even kidney failure. Over time, hypertension can damage the delicate blood vessel walls of the heart. It also can strain the kidneys and eventually weaken them. High blood pressure is currently the leading avoidable cause of death around the globe.
There are a number of different ways to prevent this dangerous disease. Eating a balanced diet low in salt and high in fiber is the first step toward lowering blood pressure. While a healthy diet may not prevent the development of hypertension, it can help to slow its development or stop it from progressing. A second way to prevent the development of hypertension and its consequences, especially kidney failure, is to maintain an ideal body weight. Weight loss reduces both blood volume and sodium levels, two factors that are positively associated with hypertension.
For those already at risk for either increased sodium intake or increased blood pressure, a healthy diet including low-salt foods and regular exercise is often enough to keep these diseases at bay. But for those people who do not follow a healthy diet or are overweight, a more restrictive diet containing less salt is necessary to reduce both blood pressure and sodium levels. Because potassium is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables, it is a great way to avoid sodium deficiency or increase potassium intake without negatively affecting your other health goals. Eat fresh instead of canned fruit and vegetables, and add high-potassium foods to your diet, such as potatoes, oranges and bananas.