Myth: “Salt creates high blood pressure and needs to be avoided.”
The origin: In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became well known for using salt restriction on people who had high blood pressure. Later on, studies confirmed that reducing salt might help reduce hypertension.
What science really shows: Large-scale scientific reviews have shown there is no reason for people with normal blood pressure to lower their sodium intake. If you do have high blood pressure, you might be “salt sensitive.” So lowering the amount of salt you eat might actually be helpful.
Though, it’s been well known for atleast 20 years that people who have high blood pressure and don’t want to lower their salt intake can just consume more potassium-containing foods. Why? Because it is really the balance of those two minerals that actually matters. Dutch researchers found out that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as having a high salt consumption does. As it turns out, the average person has 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day, or about 1,600 mg less than what is recommended.
The bottom line: Have a potassium-rich diet, which can be easily done with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. For example, white potatoes, spinach, broccoli, bananas, and most kinds of beans each have more than 400 mg potassium per serving.