Health Report: Hold the salt to heart

Dr. Amy Pollak, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says a majority of salt intake in U.S. diets comes...
Dr. Amy Pollak, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says a majority of salt intake in U.S. diets comes from processed or prepared foods.(Mayo Clinic)
Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 4:08 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Sprinkling salt can add flavor to food, but too much can raise our blood pressure too high.

The Food and Drug Administration recently outlined new, voluntary guidelines to lower sodium levels in food. But those with high blood pressure or who are at risk for heart disease may want to consider simply saying no to sodium.

Dr. Amy Pollak is a cardiovascular disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic. She says “Having high blood pressure is a major risk for heart attack, for stroke, for heart failure ― even for things like dementia,

Curbing salt use at the dinner table or when going out to eat can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, according to Dr. Pollak. “If you go out to eat and someone is preparing your food, just ask them, ‘Hey, don’t add any salt to my food, please.’”

Dr. Pollak also says when it comes to cooking at home, try adding more herbs, spices or sodium-free flavorings to replace salt. “It takes a while to reset your taste buds to get used to that lower-salt diet, but you can really make up for any flavor deficits by using more spices or more herbs.”

She adds that maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight can lower your blood pressure. “Certainly, some people can have a more dramatic effect on blood pressure with weight loss, but where you can see the most bang for your buck is really in the low-salt diet.”

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