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By the way, doctor: How much should I limit my salt intake?

August 1, 2007

Q. If I want to lower my blood pressure, how much salt can I afford to take in?

A. The link between high blood pressure (hypertension) and sodium — in particular, in the form of sodium chloride, or table salt — is well established. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, concluded that in adults with mild hypertension, a low-fat, high-fiber, calcium- and potassium-rich diet containing no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day (about a teaspoon of table salt) can lower blood pressure as effectively as an antihypertensive drug. Bringing that down to 1,500 mg of sodium per day (about two-thirds of a teaspoon of table salt) was even better.

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