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How to Lower Your Sodium Intake

Reduction of salt consumption by just 15 percent could save the lives of millions. If we cut our salt intake by half a teaspoon a day, which is achievable simply by avoiding salty foods and not adding salt to our food, we might prevent 22 percent of stroke deaths and 16 percent of fatal heart attacks—potentially helping more than if we were able to successfully treat people with blood pressure pills. As I discuss in my video Salt of the Earth: Sodium and Plant-Based Diets, an intervention in our kitchens may be more powerful than interventions in our pharmacies. One little dietary tweak could help more than billions of dollars worth of drugs.

What would that mean in the United States? Tens of thousands of lives saved every year. On a public-health scale, this simple step “could be as beneficial as interventions aimed at smoking cessation, weight reduction, and the use of drug therapy for people with hypertension or hypercholesterolemia,” that is, giving people medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And, that’s not even getting people down to the target. 

A study I profile in my video shows 3.8 grams per day as the recommended upper limit of salt intake for African-Americans, those with hypertension, and adults over 40. For all other adults the maximum is 5.8 daily grams, an upper limit that is exceeded by most Americans over the age of 3. Processed foods have so much added salt that even if we avoid the saltiest foods and don’t add our own salt, salt levels would go down yet still exceed the recommended upper limit. Even that change, however, might save up to nearly a hundred thousand American lives every year.

“Given that approximately 75% of dietary salt comes from processed foods, the individual approach is probably impractical.” So what is our best course of action? We need to get food companies to stop killing so many people. The good news is “several U.S. manufacturers are reducing the salt content of certain foods,” but the bad news is that “other manufacturers are increasing the salt levels in their products. For example, the addition of salt to poultry, meats, and fish appears to be occurring on a massive scale.”

The number-one source of sodium for kids and teens is pizza and, for adults over 51, bread. Between the ages of 20 and 50, however, the greatest contribution of sodium to the diet is not canned soups, pretzels, or potato chips, but chicken, due to all the salt and other additives that are injected into the meat.

This is one of the reasons that, in general, animal foods contain higher amounts of sodium than plant foods. Given the sources of sodium, complying with recommendations for salt reduction would in part “require large deviations from current eating behaviors.” More specifically, we’re talking about a sharp increase in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains, and lower intakes of meats and refined grain products. Indeed, “[a]s might be expected, reducing the allowed amount of sodium led to a precipitous drop” in meat consumption for men and women of all ages. It’s no wonder why there’s so much industry pressure to confuse people about sodium.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend getting under 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, while the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg/day. How do vegetarians do compared with nonvegetarians? Well, nonvegetarians get nearly 3,500 mg/day, the equivalent of about a teaspoon and a half of table salt. Vegetarians did better, but, at around 3,000 mg/day, came in at double the American Heart Association limit.

In Europe, it looks like vegetarians do even better, slipping under the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ 2,300 mg cut-off, but it appears the only dietary group that nails the American Heart Association recommendation are vegans—that is, those eating the most plant-based of diets.

This is part of my extended series on sodium, which includes:

If you’re already cutting out processed foods and still not reaching your blood pressure goals, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

82 responses to “How to Lower Your Sodium Intake

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    1. Barb,

      I try to eat beans 3 times a day (well, I probably manage twice a day), and I never salt my beans or dishes with beans in them. I cook some beans plain, with just added bay leaves (in my Instant Pot) — and I find myself eating them right out of the pan, they taste so good!

      I so sometimes cook them in broth; I use a concentrate at less than half the recommended amount, so I get some sodium that way. I’d love to find a salt-free broth concentrate.

      1. Adding rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, or oregano instead of salt greatly decreases the salt, improves the flavor and adds healthy phytochemicals. Plus they are all easy to grow.
        John S

      2. Dr. J: I think Engine2 vegetable broth doesn’t add any salt, but it may only be purchased through Amazon or Whole Foods. My nearest source, outside of Amazon, is 50 miles away…. Grrr!

      3. #Dr.J – for a German it sound not delicious cocking beans with a bay leave and 3 or 2 times a day eating beans is also difficult if you have a office job not sitting alone – sorry. So I understand Barb very good.
        I know very good the daily recommendation of the WHO for salt but I also doubt if any staff member of the WHO reach the goal every day. Because if you eat any prepared food, like tempeh for example or a plant based sausage with a whole grain bread, in Germany or every other place in the wastern world, you will have already reach the recommended limit. So, for most of the people it isn’t possible to reach 5 g per day. No way, if you have a 8 hour job outside your home and are forced to eat outside! Also, when I talk to my patients there is one argument always in the room – “The food I eat should tasting good. If I should cancel some additional fat and oil, every adding sugar and salt – no way Mr. Jurisch then go ahead with your WFPBLF diet, because eating is more then only loading calories to survive.” So, I know salt isn’t the only way to bring some flavor to a dish for me and my patients but it is a flavor enhancer (!) – like fat and sugar. So, if I or my patients have to make a choice, my recommendation is always first cancel sugar and fat… don’t look to much on the salt side. And one point more – eating is also a social interaction and I doubt that my wife, our kids and friends or my patients would love it to stay in the kitchen around a pot eating some beans from it. Sorry again… we enjoy our lunch, breakfast or supper by sitting together at the table – talking and laughing and drinking some good glas of wine, bear or water. We are living not at a cave anymore ;-)

    2. Barb,

      Do you use the regular sodium or reduced-sodium version?

      I have looked at that brand, but tend to use Miso more than bouillon.

      I don’t use salt almost ever, but I did look up my The Curry Tiger burrito as my processed food. The sodium isn’t bad. It has some oil and that makes me want to say, “Boo” but the sodium is 370 mg.

      My salad dressing is 115 mg for 2 tablespoons, which wouldn’t be bad, except that I do closer to 8 tablespoons.

      1. hey Deb, I use regular version, so, with 5 servings of soup with total of 800 mg sodium say (less than 10 mg for can of tomatoes) than it’s fine by me. That is my meal. Same on ‘bean day’. I add salt to my bean recipes along with onions, ginger, garlic, spices and that 1 can of beans plus tomatoes will yield 4 or 5 meals. Not bad for a 1/4 tsp salt total. Other than the bouillon, salad dressing, and soy milk, we don’t buy processed food. Haven’t had fast food in 30 years and don’t eat out. In the summer I am told to have a smidgeon of salt because I work out and sweat a lot.

        1. * 160 mg sodium per bowl of soup… great! Also, I got in the habit of measuring 1 tbsp of salad dressing (45 mg sodium per tbsp) out years ago and stuck with it. I put cut veggies in bottom of bowl, toss with dressing, then add leaves and toss and it’s fine.

          I have found in my experiments that it isn’t salt that raises blood pressure, but sugar. Oddly enough, fruit is will lower it.

  1. I’m prone to the family history of High Blood pressure. I watch outside foods for sodium content and limit the amount I use for cooking at home. I measure out abut 1500mg in a saucer and only use that for the day. Pinch here, pinch there. If I eat some outside food with salt I deduct it from the salt saucer… works for me….

      1. Thx, I will..
        About once a month I put my diet thru the Chro-no-meter food app and see where I need to add or subtract. So far I’m on track on lo sodium

      2. If you take in calculation the naturally-occurring sodium in plant-foods, then I think you have also to consider and calculat your loss of minerals during 3 hours of endurance sport for example or during your work because not all people are sitting in a office by moving only your fingers. ;-)
        And, you should speak not from salt you should speak about NaCl (sodium chloride) but salt is more then NaCl –
        I think, if you eat a WFPBLF diet, make your (sport) movings 3 -5 time a week and have no health problems (symptoms) then a little bit more salt isn’t it a problem. ;-)
        Because, if you look and consider the whole day what you should eat and what you should avoid then you miss your live to life… ;-)

    1. Mitch,

      My mother had high BP (she was on meds for it), and so did my brother (also on meds). But he eventually cut out all the salt in his diet (he went plant based, then eventually went whole food plant based), and went off his meds for high BP.

      I don’t know how it’s even possible, but he ate such a low sodium diet that he once suffered from hyponatria, so now he adds a pinch of salt to him morning oatmeal. Otherwise, no other added salt, and he’s fine, still no high BP or meds for them.

      1. Thanks, Dr J
        Im fortunate that my bp is normal.. Accept when I’m in a doctors office or running around with various stress.. It comes down after a fashion…

      2. Dr. J,
        Happened to me. No added salt on WFP diet and over hydration. Sodium ,evel was 131 (135 – 145).

        My GP recommended adding no salt to help keep my BP down and to drink lots of water to help prevent gout attacks. These days I add some salt but keep the total sodium intake no higher than ~1000 mg/d.

  2. Hi, Barb,

    I too use BnB but I don’t delude myse’f about it’s salt content… it’s basically bouillon paste as opposed to bouillon cubes. That said, its got terrific flavor and because it’s a paste, it’s much easier to add a fraction the bouillon when cooking (I.e., I can add less to start and can add a smidge more at the end of cooking as needed.)

    Another product I use to add umami is “Kitchen Bouquet” which is a concentrated vegetable extract has been around for since the 1870-80s. It markets itse’f as a browning sauce to add color to foods but is also used to flavor sauces and gravies. Commercial producers add it to water when they want a cup of “coffee” in magazine and TV advertisements.

    It passes the low-Na threshold in that a tsp has 15 Cal but only 10 mg of Na.

    Be careful when first using, it’s concentrated stuff

    1. PrinceMongo, thanks ! I haven’t tried Kitchen Bouquet, but I will. There are organic bouillon cubes out there but the fine print will say for example, 560 mg sodium for 1/3 of a cube!! I won’t buy them. I don’t use tamari or miso or any other condiments either. Over all, I am doing alright. If I try low sodium products, I end up adding salt so it’s pointless.

    1. Beer is a trigger so I’d guess nutritional yeast could be too. I am a vegan who has had infrequent gout attacks and avoid it to be on the safe side. However I haven’t found any studies directly addressing the issue.
      Also your total diet needs to be taken into account.

  3. Hi Dr. Michael Greger and Everyone,

    Very happy to know this and realize that the salt I take with my vegan diet is fine !
    Thank you so much for accompanying us in our daily life.
    You’re part of our family like a big brother, aren’t you ? :)

  4. Calls to eliminate sodium are dangerous. Severe hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma and even death. From late September to November 8th 2019, eliminated all salt to lower my blood pressure. Instead of lowering it rose from 130 to over 140. My heart rate went from 69 to 76. On the last week of the diet by heart was becoming progressively worse (irregular heart beat and tightness in the chest). I think I had hyperkalemia, too much potassium in your blood. I was going to check in the hospital when I finally realized what had change. I wasn’t eating salt. I ran down to Publix and bought hummus and olives. Within 2 hours, I was 90% normal. After eating salty food the next day, I was 100% recovered. Do not go low salt. The cause of high blood pressure is sugar. I wasn’t eating added sugar, but I was eating bags of dried fruit/dates, St. Dalfour’s jam and nice cream. If your salt levels are low, it will activate the Renin–angiotensin system which constricts blood flow impairing nitric oxide and increases the volume of extracellular fluid in the body, which also increases blood pressure. Do not go low sodium. I nearly died.

    1. That is interesting, James.

      I suppose both high sodium and high sugar probably affect blood pressure.

      Though I was very high sugar and had low blood pressure.

      1. I had gotten my blood pressure down to 115 before eating only watermelon for a few days. My blood sodium levels weren’t depleted in 3-4 days to activate the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) . Watermelon has citrulline which lowers blood pressure.

        I would not have believed that a no sodium diet could raise my blood pressure, if I had not actually measured it every day. I was eating several bananas a day to lower it (and high magnesium plant foods). It would only go up not down. I was blown away.

        1. I was lost trying to figure out what went wrong until I came across this study and others warning about the dangers of salt restriction. Dr. McDougall has echoed these concerns as well.

          “In conclusion, the excessively low salt diet did not decrease the systolic blood pressure and increased the heart rate and activated the plasma renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympatho-adrenal systems as well as cardiac tissue prorenin-renin-(P)RR system. An excessively low salt diet is harmful to the heart and adequate salt restriction is required for the treatment of hypertension.”

          “There was also a significant increase in plasma or serum renin, 304% (p < 0.0001), aldosterone, 322%, (p < 0.0001), noradrenaline, 30% (p < 0.0001), cholesterol, 5.4% (p < 0.0001) and LDL cholesterol, 4.6% (p < 0.004), and a borderline increase in adrenaline, 12% (p = 0.04) and triglyceride, 5.9% (p = 0.03) with low sodium intake as compared with high sodium intake."

          1. The fact that all but a very small fraction of people are doubly high, I do agree that you can go too low, but most never will even get down to the modest level and all of the studies I have looked at talk about the benefits of getting down closer to those recommended levels.

              1. Can I ask, what were you eating?

                I think my salad dressing and hummus and Wasa crispbreads and cup a soup already start adding up.

                I don’t think I am high, but I am definitely not extremely low.

                I wondering what extremely low looks like.

                1. I was eating
                  Eden Unsweetened Soymilk – no sodium
                  Tofu – no sodium
                  Eden beans/lentils with no salt added
                  spaghetti with strained tomatoes (no salt)
                  dried fruit/dates
                  Fruit except cantaloupe which is “high” in sodium
                  Westbrae mustard stone ground no salt
                  rice/potatoes – no salt etc.

                  I now eat of 1,500-3,000 mg of salt. I still buy the foods above except dried fruit and fruit juice/smoothies. Excess fructose raises blood pressure. I learned the hard way.

                  “High doses of fructose raise the BP and cause the features of metabolic syndrome. Lowering the uric acid level prevents the increase in mean arterial blood pressure. Excessive intake of fructose may have a role in the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes.”

                  1. James,

                    Thanks for giving me the list. It helps me to understand what you were doing.

                    Fruit juice and smoothies are a problem for it, but when I read the people who are doing exceptionally well at the Mastering Diabetes site, most of them mention how much whole fruit they are eating.

                    White rice can be a problem if people eat it more than 4 days per week, per studies in Asia.

              2. Deb,

                Most doctors, like mine, do not understand how low in sodium a 100% WFP diet with no added salt can be. They also have no idea how much water from food and drink someone on such a diet can get.

                I think this issue could be better addressed. When I hear “no added salt”, I cringe since I’ve had hyponatremia. on an ultra low salt diet.

                1. Gengo,

                  I understand.

                  My internal question is why didn’t it become an issue when Dr. Kempner did the ridiculously rigid version of his diet.

                  He whipped people to make sure they stayed on his diet and his diet seems as low sodium as possible.

                  But he didn’t allow fish, which is one which is associated with Diabetes and he didn’t allow juices or oils.

                  I wonder what it is that nobody got it on his diet.

                  Or maybe they did. I will have to research it.

                  I just am wondering if it is the juices and smoothies or something else.

                  What did he do differently?

          2. YES… James, you are so right!
            Always looking for as less salt as possible is not healthy… a WFPBLF diet, with a good portion of move every day or at least 3 time a week acoompanied with laughing, good talks with friends should be enough…. if there is still time, then look for the number of salt intake. ;-)

        2. James,

          That is interesting.

          To balance it, I put Dr. Kempner’s results, for people who will go too far in the other direction.

          How did we first learn of this? Enter Dr. Walter Kempner and his rice-and-fruit diet. Without drugs, he brought patients with eye-popping blood pressures like 240/150 down to 105/80 with dietary changes alone. How could he ethically withhold medication from such seriously ill patients? Modern high-blood-pressure pills hadn’t been invented yet! Dr. Kempner conducted his work back in the 1940s. He was able to reverse the course of disease with diet in more than 70 percent of cases. Though the diet wasn’t merely extremely low sodium—it was also strictly plant-based and low in fat and protein—Dr. Kempner is now recognized as the person who established, beyond any shadow of doubt, that high blood pressure can often be lowered by a low-sodium diet.

            1. I think Kempner’s diet is very low sodium and it worked extremely well for the people in his study.

              Forgive me for my lapses in scientific understanding on this matter, but I wonder if it was something like high potassium, rather than low sodium that raised yours?

              His diet was rice, fruit, and sugar.

              1. When I had hyponatremia earlier this year my sodium level was low but the potassium level was normal. So hyponatremia was caused by a low sodium diet following the information given on this site. Have to maintain daily sodium intake of at least 1800 mg to keep the sodium level in the normal range. I ended up in the ER. My blood pressure and pulse were too high plus other bad symptoms.

                “A study I profile in my video shows 3.8 grams per day as the recommended upper limit of salt intake for African-Americans, those with hypertension, and adults over 40. For all other adults the maximum is 5.8 daily grams,”. Todays blog.

                Over the 16-year follow-up period, the researchers observed that the participants who consumed under 2,500 milligrams of sodium each day had higher blood pressure than those who consumed higher quantities of sodium.

                1. Thanks, CP.

                  Though when I read it, they added in other factors such as levels of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making it a complex system.

                  The J curve is interesting.

                  High sodium is also not good for you, even in that study.

                  It still doesn’t answer why Kempner had such magnificent results putting people on extremely low sodium, but maybe it is the other factors.

                  1. Hi, Deb
                    Three good sentences.
                    This means that low-sodium diets and very high-sodium diets both carry a higher risk of heart disease.
                    Perhaps in the future, methods of screening for salt sensitivity might help to establish which individuals need to be more careful.
                    As more studies conclude that sodium’s role in hypertension is less vital than once thought, dietary recommendations are sure to change in line with the findings.

                    Other findings.
                    Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium are all electrolytes.
                    Hypertension- High blood pressure is common in people who are chronically dehydrated. When the body’s cells lack water, the brain sends a signal to the pituitary glad to secrete vasopressin, a chemical that causes constriction of the blood vessels. This causes blood pressure to increase which leads to hypertension.

                    I found this really interesting.
                    Hyponatremia is the most common form of electrolyte disorder in the emergency room. The symptoms are unspecific and include nausea, dizziness and often falls.

                    1. CP,

                      Yes, I was reading about dehydration and stroke. They said that drinking water before bedtime helps.

                      Low fiber would be another factor.


                      As far as the other electrolytes go, too much Potassium was what another site called the most deadly electrolyte imbalance and it caused me to wonder about all of these salt substitutes.

                      One site said: Most cases of hyponatremia are caused by reduced renal excretion of water with continued water intake or by loss of sodium in the urine. They gave a list of what typically causes impairment of renal water excretion: renal problems thyroid problems, diuretics, or adrenal insufficiency

                      They said that most cases of hyponatremia are associated with low serum osmolality except for the case of uncontrolled diabetes, in which hyperglycemia leads to a hyperosmolar state despite a serum sodium that is below normal.

                      It is interesting. They don’t even list eating too little sodium on the list for that one.

                      I looked up the Fruitarian community because they often do banana smoothies and very little sodium. They test low according to a study.

                      They didn’t differentiate between the juice drinkers and the whole food eaters.

                      Gerson came to mind as the other group to look at but I don’t think that they have a study on it and I don’t think Charlotte Gerson trusts the researchers at this point.

                  2. Walter Kempner used to put people with malignant HTN on a diet of rice and fruit and sugar which must have less than 200mg of sodium but not for long. He would add some chicken or fish and vegetables and these had sufficient sodium to prevent deficiency. Clearly people can consume zero sodium on a fast for a week or more.”
                    from the Jeff Novick page. Link provided by David W.

                    1. Deb, thank for the interesting word
                      Osmolality is a measure of the number of dissolved particles in a fluid. A test for osmolality measures the amount of dissolved substances such as sodium, potassium, chloride, glucose, and urea in a sample of blood and sometimes in urine.
                      I’ve read a lot about hyponatremia and testing hasn’t found anything to be causing it except low sodium intake. After adding sodium to my diet the sodium blood levels came up to normal and stayed there and I stay hydrated.
                      I’ve know for years that the potassium level is very necessary to keep in the normal range. Everything was fine until I went low sodium and no processed foods.

                  1. Links provided by Jeff Novick are from 2005 and 1989. There is better research since then.
                    But this was interesting, does not apply to me but interesting none the less.
                    “People whose adrenals that cannot make enough aldosterone who are not being treated with aldosterone certainly would not want to be on a low-salt diet as their ability to retain salt is severely compromised.” Even on a SAD diet.

            1. High uric acid levels are associated with high blood pressure.
              “Fructose is known to induce uric acid production by increasing ATP degradation to AMP, a uric acid precursor”

              Walter Kempner’s diet lowered blood pressure and rice is allowed on a fructose restricted diet.

              Perhaps, I induced high blood pressure by eating too much fructose (dried fruit and smoothies, apple cider). At the same time, I eliminated all sodium which activated the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system which further raised blood pressure. My no salt intake induced hyponatremia and my high potassium intake (in the absence of salt) induced hyperkalemia. I was a wreck by the end of it.

            2. Part of the reason Kempner’s patients blood pressures came down is that they were losing weight quickly. The rice and fruit were chosen because they were lower protein for failing kidneys.

              A couple of years ago someone said on this forum that an average daily dozen type day comes out to be approximately 650 mg sodium at cronometer. I haven’t tested that out though.

              1. Kempner’s original diet was 2,400 calories and didn’t cause any weight loss. In fact he tried to prevent weight loss since his patients were in a weakened state. It wasn’t until years later that he applied his low calorie version of his diet for the obese. His patients ate upwards of 1,000 calories in plain white sugar in addition to limited fruit and white rice.

    2. For almost four years I’ve maxed sodium intake to 500 mg a day (I suffer from heart failure after a major heart attack) and I average between 200/300 mg a day and rarely make it to the full 500 mg. I’ve never had a problem other than my b/p dropping considerably over time to the point I no longer need b/p meds. And sadly, that’s without losing a pound. Interesting enough my type 2 also got better and fasting blood sugar dropped to between 78/82 and A1C going from 6.9 to 5.2/5.4. Am I worried my sodium level might drop too low? No. Considering that Dr. Walter Kempner had his patient on what amounted to 60 mg a day for years without a problem. And the South American tribe from Venezuela usse no salt with a natural level around 200 mg a day. It isn’t fat, oils, white flour, sugar or animal products that will kill you, it’s salt. Virtually every way of eating from whole food vegan, Paleo, Ancestral, low carb, Mediterranean, Fruitarian, and raw food all have one thing in common. They eliminate processed food where 75% of our sodium comes from. They are all low salt diets. That’s why all these diets show health benefits. You’ve heard water only fasting shows great health benefits. Do you really think those benefits comes from eliminating food, OR because it’s the ultimate low sodium diet, because it is no sodium? The Inter-salt study should have taught us all that salt is the problem. The four small societies studied that ate little or no salt don’t have heart disease, strokes, type 2, dementia, cancer, especially stomach cancer, or high blood pressure. It’s the salt.

  5. Wow look at all the additional information and articles. Looks like I will have a guided tour down the internet rabbit hole tonight. Thanks

  6. Just a note about that fructose experiment, which apparently used fructose solution, and not natural fruits. Certain very different, metabolically.
    “After enrollment, participants were administered fructose
    200 g daily, administered as two 1-l bottles of 10% fructose. They were recommended to sip from the solutions all day
    rather than to ingest rapidly”

    1. PhotoMaldives, yes, whole fruit, and lots of it brought my blood pressure down. I typically eat 2 or 3 apples, a banana or two, at least 1/3 cup berries, maybe grapes, mandarins, per day.

      1. “I typically eat 2 or 3 apples”
        – – – –

        Wow, Barb, so you can chomp down 3 apples in a day? I cook a little more than 1/2 an apple (applesauce digests better for me), and then add purple/black grapes, along with a bit of chopped walnuts as part of my daily lunch. The applesauce actually tastes a lot sweeter than the raw ones do, IMO. No sugar added, of course, just their natural sugars.

        Then I put a goodly amount of my trusty nothing-added peanut butter to the piece of toasted organic sourdough bread that I’ve been getting from Target. I’ve got a coupla loaves still stashed up in the refrigerator freezer.

        For lunch I also have a stick of an organic mozzarella stick, but then I do eat a bit of dairy every day. And once or twice a week some wild salmon or sardines.

        The (previously frozen) banana and frozen/thawed blueberries atop my breakfast oatmeal or other cooked whole grains. And that’s about it in the fruit department.

        1. hey YR, well, it depends… apples are often cheaper than other fruit/food, so I eat them. They also did a study on lowering LDL cholesterol with apple rings (2 apples worth) so I keep that in mind too. Typically I will have oatbran, berries, soy milk and an apple for breakfast, and 2/3 cup veg soup, piece of bread and one or two fruit for lunch and dinner. Your menu plan sounds delicious, including the sourdough bread and peanut butter… yummy!

          There has been lots of great ideas in the forums lately that I am mulling over. I don’t drink water per se, and that might be a great place to start.

        2. How could I forget to add lemons, oranges and watermelon! So many fruits are soooooo good! I like pineapple, too….and cherries in season. And even when they’re not.

  7. What if one has a very difficult time cutting down due to intolerances to practically every spice and herb & not much time or energy to cook & be fully WFPB ? Is Potassium Chloride okay in small amounts? My salt levels can be so high that literally I can have too salty tears that sting my eyes & leave white tiny crystals behind where the tears have evaporated.Yet my blood test for sodium was in the normal range.

  8. Wow it is shocking, how much salt there is in some breads! I checked a package of whole wheat tortillas, there is 370 mg sodium in a single tortilla! That is about a whole gram of salt, a whole days allowance….However I checked some corn tortillas, and there was only 37 mg sodium, a tenth as much. It looks like I’ll be staying with the corn tortillas!

  9. interesting as ive just watched john mcdougall’s presentations and discussions around this topic, he and others are stating a low salt diet is actually stressful on our bodies, and can lead to hypertension due to aldosterone possibly reabsorbing sodium keeping sodium levels high systemically, causing vessel vaso constriction = HTN?? not sure . just when i had it figured out!!

    1. WFPBLiisa,

      That’s very interesting! I found these points particularly worthy noting:

      — boosted NO production protected against tau accumulation — the mice were fed 8-16 times the salt in normal chow, levels higher than people would normally get.

      This supports eating an NO-boosting WFPB diet and keeping salt intake moderate, but does not support (or argue against) the “no added salt” view (not saying you were taking a position on this).

      1. I agree. I would like to summarize where I went wrong and how to correct it:

        1. 1,500mg-2,300mg of sodium is appropriate versus a no sodium diet. When a no added salt didn’t lower my blood pressure, I eliminated the fruits (like cantaloupe) and vegetables like beets which are high in sodium. This further exacerbated the release of aldosterone (a hormone which damages the heart and causes sodium absorption and higher blood pressure).

        “aldosterone can cause myocardial tissue damage, including hypertrophy and fibrosis over that induced by high-blood pressure itself.”

        “In conclusion, the excessively low salt diet did not decrease the systolic blood pressure and increased the heart rate and activated the plasma renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympatho-adrenal systems as well as cardiac tissue prorenin-renin-(P)RR system. An excessively low salt diet is harmful to the heart and adequate salt restriction is required for the treatment of hypertension.”

        2. Limit saturated fat. I was eating coconut milk yogurt (no added sugar). Aldosterone is made from cholesterol. “palmitic acid, the major saturated fatty acid, was shown to induce activation of the renin‐angiotensin system” Angiotesin is “a protein whose presence in the blood promotes aldosterone secretion and tends to raise blood pressure.”

        3. Limit (or eliminate) dried fruit and juice. I was eating bags of dried fruit/dates daily and drank spiced apple cider. “epidemiological and experimental studies conducted to date suggest a strong link between excess fructose consumption and hypertension.”
        “High doses of fructose raise the BP and cause the features of metabolic syndrome. Lowering the uric acid level prevents the increase in mean arterial blood pressure. Excessive intake of fructose may have a role in the current epidemics of obesity and diabetes.”

        4. Eat foods which increase nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide inhibits aldosterone synthesis.
        Not only does eliminating sodium diet activate Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System, eliminating higher sodium vegetables like beets or certain greens added insult to injury. Beets and greens are high in nitrates which convert to nitric oxide which inhibits aldosterone production. L-arginine (an amino acid found in soy and beans) and L-citrulline. My 4 day watermelon cleanse I did last summer significantly lowered my blood pressure due partly to l-citrulline (watermelon is the richest source of).

        1. James.
          Re: “1,500mg-2,300mg of sodium is appropriate versus a no sodium diet.”, it seems to me there is no one prescription that applies to everyone, and in particular to salt-sensitive hypertensive people. In my case I don’t yet know if I am salt sensitive but at this point I try to keep my sodium intake excluding what’s in whole plant food to about 800-1200mg. If I were to discover I am salt sensitive, I would restrict it even more but not go below about 500 mg added sodium per day. I do not know if that would sufficient to prevent triggering the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system, but the RAAS would not seem to be working properly in salt sensitive people anyway.

  10. I get a kick from people quoting studies showing poor results from eating a low salt diet when those studies are self reporting. Those folks don’t have a clue as to how much salt/sodium they consumed. There have been a number of interesting studies that asked people how much salt they consumed and then followed by 24 hour urine sample. Most people were reported low by an average of 400%. Only one woman actually consumed less sodium than she self reported. Then we also see that those very studies that show poor results are funded by the Salt Institute. Yeah, I’m going to believe those studies. The only legitimate studies on sodium are those that used 24 hour urine samples repeatedly over years as did the Intersalt study.

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