A low-sodium diet is recommended for people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. This is done in order to reduce the buildup of sodium in the blood, which causes the heart to have to work harder. In order to properly follow a low sodium diet, it is important to read food labels properly and if possible to do the majority of food preparation at home.

A low-sodium diet can have many advantages and benefits for those who follow one. Cutting down on sodium can improve cardiovascular health, and prevent edema of the legs. The likelihood of heart disease decreases as the intake of sodium decreases, especially in those people who are susceptible. In general, because the majority of people consume sodium in excess amounts, following a low-sodium diet is likely to improve one’s health overall.

One of the major disadvantages in following a low-sodium diet is the possibility of reducing the amount of sodium in the bloodstream to less-than-ideal levels. People who are taking diuretics for high blood pressure who are also adhering to a low-sodium diet are particularly prone to this condition. Low sodium can be dangerous, since the body does need adequate amounts of sodium in order to function properly, especially in order regulate nerve impulses and balance out potassium levels.

Another disadvantage to a low-sodium diet is that it can be a difficult regimen to consistently maintain. Many people may try to substitute high-sodium snacks and other packaged foods with low-sodium replacements, but these products may not be satisfying or they may have other chemicals which can be damaging to the body.

For anyone adhering to a low-sodium diet, it is best to focus on eating fresh whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, which have undergone little to no processing. Eating these foods is better because they are unlikely to have been treated with sodium or other chemicals and preservatives. Consuming foods such as fruits and vegetables in their natural state is also good for cardiovascular health because these items are high in fiber, and can reduce levels of blood cholesterol, which can also help the person who may be considering a low-sodium diet.