Salty eating harms those with hypertension

Dec. 29, 2012 at 5:57 PM

DALLAS, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Unhealthy snacking, popular during football and holiday seasons, can have harmful effects on people with hypertension, a U.S. hypertension specialist says.

Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, a hypertension specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said about 1-in-4 Americans has hypertension -- a condition that elevates blood pressure and can lead to a host of serious problems, including heart attacks and strokes.

People with hypertension generally should eat no more than about 1,500 milligrams of salt each day, in addition to taking their prescribed medications.

"I advise patients to allow themselves one special meal for a holiday, but not to continue unhealthy eating habits for several days or weeks," Nesbitt said in a statement. "Leftovers are what sabotage people."

Since just one teaspoon of table salt has more than 2,300 mg of sodium, it's important to account for each meal and snack.

On average, people in America consume about 3,400 mg of sodium each day, Nesbitt said.

"If you know you're going to have an ample dinner with a lot of salt, you need to have a very low-sodium breakfast and lunch," Nesbitt advised "And be sure you don't go over your daily salt limit."

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