Dietary changes can help control high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Unfortunately, much of the foods we consume on a daily basis contribute to this condition.

Therefore, foods with a high salt content should be avoided. To maintain health, the bloodstream must have the proper amount of salt (sodium). Salt should be taken as a “hidden killer,” according to Dr Deborah Lee of the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.

“If you take in too much salt,” according to her, “the sodium content of the blood increases”.

“The kidney detects this and reabsorbs more water to try and dilute the increased sodium concentration.”

“It does this via the stimulation of an enzyme system called the renin-aldosterone-angiotensin system (RAS).

“As a result, there is an increase in your blood volume, which puts your blood pressure up, as the heart is having to work harder to pump an increased fluid volume around the body.”

This strains the heart over time, which can lead to heart failure, and damages the kidneys, causing them to function less efficiently.

And excessive salt consumption results in chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) and kidney failure.

Typically, there are no symptoms of elevated blood pressure.

However, chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath are the most prevalent symptoms of heart disease.

Dr. Lee cautioned that one typical component of dinners could be particularly unhealthy.

“Some stock cubes,” according to the expert, “contain 50 percent salt”.

“87 to 99 percent of shop-bought gravy should have a red health alert warning!”

“If everyone in the UK cut their salt intake by one gram per day, this would prevent 6,000 deaths due to strokes and heart attacks every year,” she added.

“Most people consume between nine to 12 grams of salt per day – more than twice the recommended amount of five grams per day. Five grams of salt is just under one teaspoon of salt.”

According to Dr. Lee, other “hidden killer” foods include:

Tomato ketchup – A spoonful of tomato ketchup includes 10% of your daily salt requirement.

Bread contains the same amount of salt as a packet of crisps in one out of every four loaves.

Freshly made bread does not require proper food labeling, and bread from high-street bakeries has the greatest salt level.

Although the amount of salt in ready meals has decreased in recent years, a recent survey found that 7% of ready meals still had over three grams of salt per serving, which is more than half of the total daily recommended salt intake.

One large sausage roll carries the same amount of salt as four packages of crisps.

Image Credit: Getty

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