How Does Salt Affect Blood Pressure

How Does Salt Affect Blood Pressure
How does salt affect blood pressure? Does salt (sodium) cause high blood pressure? Salt is essential to human life – in moderation. But like most good things, too much can be a killer.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute blames excess sodium as a major cause of high blood pressure in the U.S. And high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke. Every single day 1,652 Americans die prematurely from these two major degenerative diseases.

And 1,652 heart attack and stroke deaths are equivalent to 4 jet airliners crashing daily.

Salt and High Blood Pressure

The National Institutes of Health recommends less than 1.5 grams of sodium a day. But the average American gets over 4 grams of sodium a day. And 15 grams is not uncommon.

Limiting salt to less than 1.5 grams can lower systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by as much as 5 to 10 points, which significantly reduces a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.

Sodium is found naturally in almost all foods. But added salt in processed foods is the major damaging food source of sodium. Excess salt is found in bacon, hot dogs and processed meats, as well as frozen dinners, pizza, canned soups, etc. And the sodium grams mount up quickly.

A cup of canned soup or a couple of slices of luncheon meat can each add another gram per serving to your daily limit. A ham and cheese sandwich with mustard adds over 2.5 grams and an order of chicken fajitas with tortillas, rice, beans and guacamole adds over 3.5 grams.

74.5 million American adults (beginning at age 20) have high blood pressure. Another 48 million have readings between120/80 and 139/90, which is considered pre-hypertension. According to recent research, about ninety percent of the people in this “pre-hypertension” stage will go on to eventually develop full blown high blood pressure during their lifetime. Here's what you can do.

How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

You can learn how to lower blood pressure naturally without the use of medications. Begin by eliminating processed foods and refrain from adding extra salt at the table.

Find low sodium substitutes. Read labels and avoid added MSG (monosodium glutamate), sodium nitrate, nitrite, propionate, alginate, citrate, sulfite and even regular soy sauce. And be aware that baking soda, baking powder and many seasonings also contain sodium.

You’re better off using natural salt free herbs and spices to season your food. A healthy high fiber diet of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plus high protein foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fats and salt can lower blood pressure by at least 10 to 15 points.

And losing even a little bit of weight can make a very big difference.

One study showed that people who lost only eight pounds were half as likely to have high blood pressure symptoms. Research also shows that those who exercise regularly control their blood pressure just as well as those who exercise and take hypertension medications.

Healthy Blood Pressure for a Healthy Life

Blood pressure is an important biomarker of health. Reducing your numbers by even just a few points can greatly decrease your risk of both heart disease and stroke. So, put down that salt shaker and season your next meal with the salty wisdom of good whole foods.

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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.

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