Salt Savvy: How to Beat Bloat and Better Blood Pressure

Updated on January 10, 2018
THE DIRTY DISH profile image

Stacy is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). She received a Master's in Dietetics from the University of Oklahoma.

How Salt Affects Bloat and Blood Pressure

Sodium and potassium -- the primary minerals contained in various types of salt -- regulate fluid balance in the body. Sodium raises blood pressure and increases fluid retention (bloat); potassium does the opposite. Maintaining a balance of both minerals is essential for optimal health. Too much or too little of either, and there are health consequences, ranging in severity, depending on the level of excess or deficiency.

(For an in-depth explanation of the different types of salt see section below called What about all those other kinds of salt? What's the difference?.)

Sodium-Potassium Balance In 3 Easy Steps

  1. Toss a package of Lite Salt, or a comparable product, in your shopping cart.
  2. Fill the remainder of the cart with things labeled "No Salt Added", or simply have no salt added, like an apple or a potato. Don't make this complicated. (The complicated section is next.)
  3. Add your Lite Salt at home. Use the amount indicated in recipes, shake sparingly at the table, and bask in the zen of your new body balance.

⚠️ Blood Pressure Medication Warning ⚠️

If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, you need to talk to your medical provider before switching to Lite Salt, Salt Substitute, or a comparable potassium-containing product. Potassium supplements and drugs that help the body "hold onto" potassium are common treatments for high blood pressure. Essentially, you could inadvertently "double-up" on potassium, and your blood pressure could get dangerously low.

ARGH! I can't find a "No Salt Added" marinara!

Making your own sauce from scratch is an obvious solution, but isn't always realistic. Meals that are quick and easy to prepare fit better into busy schedules. Fortunately, there are ways to utilize convenience products without overloading on sodium. One method is to shop for products that have close to one milligram of sodium for every calorie; think Sodium < or = kcal when looking at the nutrition label. (Most people eat between 1500 and 2500kcal daily -- translating to roughly 1500 to 2500mg of Sodium daily -- within range of the World Health Organization recommendation, less than 2g or 2000mg.) Alternatively, you can consider your meal as a whole. For example, you have a jar of salty sauce. Dilute it with a can of "No Salt Added" diced tomatoes. Don't add salt to your pasta water. Pair it with a salad. Produce doesn't have added salt, and neither does a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Essentially, you can compensate for a salty food item by pairing it wisely.

Shopping and meal planning may seem difficult and time-consuming as first. But, you only have to label read once -- then you know which products are the lowest in sodium -- and you simply toss those items into your cart.

What about all those other kinds of salt? What's the difference?

There are three basic groups of commercial salt products available; those composed primarily of sodium chloride, those composed primarily of potassium chloride, and those that are a blend of both.

The vast majority of products belong to the first group, primarily sodium chloride. Many products have trace amounts of other minerals that occur naturally, or have been added during processing. Those minerals account for varying hues, (pink and black) - provide slight variances in flavor, (sea salt) - or have been added for thyroid health, (iodized salt). Texture can also vary: fine, coarse, flake and rock.

Products labeled "Salt Substitues" constitute the second group, primarily potassium chloride. They contain no sodium chloride, are usually iodized, and have a metallic flavor some find offensive. NoSalt, Nu-Salt and Morton's Salt Substitute fall into this category. Fortunately, the aforementioned metallic flavor is nicely tempered by combining the potassium chloride with sodium chloride.

Which brings us to the third group, blends. Usually iodized, and mixed to contain half the standard amount of sodium, blends can be used just as one would use standard iodized table salt. Most manufactured foods labeled "Low-Sodium" or "Reduced-Sodium" contain a blend; easily spotted by a quick glance at the potassium content on the nutrition label. If it is anywhere close to the sodium content, then a blend has been used. LoSalt and Morton's Lite Salt are common blends, easily found in neighborhood grocery stores.


A Note About Sea Salt

When it comes to salt shopping and label reading, the term "Sea Salt" is definitely the most confusing. Products will list sea salt as an ingredient and have a nutrition label that indicates a blend. Huh? The sodium chloride in the product likely came from a sea water evaporation pond instead of a mine. This makes no difference at all as far as your body, and it's chemical response, is concerned. Currently, there is a perception that sea salt is "healthier", so the manufacturer is simply riding that bandwagon.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Stacy Becker

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Tom Lohr profile image

        Tom Lohr 

        9 months ago from Santa Fe, NM

        Probably the best explanation of salt I have ever read. I had no idea about the differences. Thanks for setting us straight.

      • profile image

        Beth 

        9 months ago

        Very informative!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://delishably.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)