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Salt reduction -- one of a variety of strategies to help get your blood pressure down

February 02, 2011|By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
  • The DASH diet, which includes a lot of vegetables, can help lower high blood pressure. The eating plan also emphasizes whole grains and low- and non-fat dairy.
The DASH diet, which includes a lot of vegetables, can help lower high blood… (David Karp / For The Times )

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines told us this week that we should lower our salt intake to fight hypertension. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that far too many Americans have untreated hypertension  (and untreated bad cholesterol profiles, to boot).  

And “heart health” month has only begun. Readers will need stamina to get through all 28 days of it.

In addition to salt reduction, a variety of lifestyle measures can help people get their blood pressure down. Last year, writer Karen Ravn pulled them all together for us. There’s the DASH diet, rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and low-fat/non-fat dairy (potassium and calcium, studies suggest, help lower hypertension). There's exercise, stress-reduction, weight loss, more. For each lifestyle measure, Ravn takes a look at the evidence and what kind of gains you might expect from them. She also reports that “the relationship between salt and high blood pressure is complicated. In some "salt-sensitive" people, blood pressure responds dramatically to changes in salt intake. In others, not so much.” 

Read about it in "Don't blow a gasket; adjust your life."

 Also for your consideration: the basics of blood pressure and a breakdown of the various blood pressure meds.

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