In my chiropractic practice in Forest Hills, Queens I have found that high blood pressure affects at least one in three adults. Most, if not all people who suffer from high blood pressure, are on medication to keep it under control. I often encourage my patients to look at alternative ways of controlling and lowering their blood pressure.
While most people have heard that excess salt is not good for people who have high blood pressure problems, they are often not fully aware on what impact it may have on their overall health. Does it cause high blood pressure? Are we putting our health at risk using salt? What is the truth about salt?
Salt and High Blood Pressure
Too much salt can negatively impact our bodies in the following way:
l Excessive intake of salt will disproportionately be reabsorbed by about 20 percent of the world's population
l Through the osmosis process, salt retains water in our bodies
l It promotes thirst, which is an indication that it is already harming our body
l Salt keeps our circulation volumes higher than it should be, which results in excess fluid pressure on our blood vessel walls. Our blood vessel walls react to the stress placed on it by either narrowing or thickening, thereby not leaving enough space for the fluid to move blood to our organs
l The heart has to work harder by having to pump against the high pressure created through consuming excess salt
l The question most people ask about salt is, just how much salt is enough for us to take in?
How Much Salt Does Our Body Need?
People who struggle with high blood pressure are keen to know how much salt is actually enough. The natural inclination of many is to add salt to their food whether they are at a restaurant or at home. What they don't know is that it is really not necessary, as natural food contains enough salt to suit our needs.
According to the US National Academy of Sciences, it is recommended that people take in at least 500mg of salt per day. But, people take in far more than that when they consume fast food. For example, take a flame-broiled chicken sandwich. Did you know that it contains as much as 1,200 to 1,400 mg of sodium.
Interestingly, adults who are in good health can cope with excessive amounts of salt (Short term only). Babies on the other hand generally cope on less than 1mg of salt, which is why one should be cautious never to add salt to their food. This may result in their kidneys being overwhelmed which can cause severe brain damage.
Common Foods That Contain Salt
It is good to know which foods are full of hidden salt, then you avoid them, especially if you have high blood pressure problems. Take a closer look at these:
l Dried and packaged foods such as soups
l Saltines, pretzels, and potato chips
l Smoked or salty meats such as corned beef, smoked sausage, bologna, bacon, and meats that are pickled
l Smoked or salty fish such as caviar, herring, sardines, and anchovies
l Sauerkraut and pickles
l Any nuts that are salted
l Cheese spreads and processed cheese
l Soy sauce and Ketchup
l Frozen Pizza
l Dill pickles
To help us reduce our high blood pressure, we need to take note of good foods that will improve our overall health. Amazingly the following foods have a positive impact and are said to lower our blood pressure:
l Onions and Apples
l Dark Chocolate
l Cold water fish and avocados
l Seaweed and celery
It might be in your best interest to lessen your intake of salt or look for ways to avoid consuming foods that contain hidden salt which will affect your health negatively, leading to possibly high blood pressure problems.