Do I have to reduce my salt intake

A person is adding salt on pieces of tomato.

Not if your blood pressure is normal. In fact, the link between salt and blood pressure is somewhat overstated. In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, MD, became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension. Large-scale scientific reviews, however, have determined that there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their sodium intake. (A quick clarification: Salt is a seasoning made of sodium chloride; sodium is an element that can still exist in foods marked “no salt.”) Now, if you already have high blood pressure, you may be “salt sensitive.” As a result, reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful. That said, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods. (Deep orange and green fruits like apricot, kiwi, and cantaloupe, as well as bananas and trendy coconut water are among the top sources.) Why these foods? Because it’s really the balance of the two minerals in the body that matters. In fact, Dutch researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And, as it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams of potassium a day—1,600 milligrams less than recommended.