Fight Hypertension the Smart Way!6 years ago | Hypertension
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
High blood pressure, (hypertension), is a major public health problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 75 million American adults (that’s 1 of 3 every adults) have high blood pressure.
On top of this, the CDC says that high blood pressure costs the U.S. $46 billion each year!
A high salt diet is not usually recommended for those with high blood pressure. And according to a recent study, you can’t outweigh the effects of a high salt diet even if you otherwise eat healthily.
Researchers of this study looked at the diets of more than 4,000 people from China, Japan, United Kingdom and United States (ages 40-59).They took urine samples from the participants to determine their sodium and potassium (which helps keep blood pressure under control) levels. They also assessed the intake of more than 80 nutrients that may be linked to lower blood pressure, including vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.
The results showed that people who ate higher amounts of salt, no matter how many blood pressure lowering nutrients they consumed, had higher blood pressure. In other words, healthy eating did not decrease blood pressure if the participants also had a high salt intake.
However, it appears the study may have overlooked some very important pieces to the puzzle that we need to keep in mind when it comes to managing our blood pressure.
Exercise also plays a major role in sodium levels and blood pressure.
There has always been credible evidence showing that exercise plays a role in reducing blood pressure as well (especially when there is consumption of a high salt diet).
According to one report from the American Heart Association, “the less physically active you are, the more your blood pressure rises in response to a high-salt diet.” And a low salt diet may be more relevant for lowering blood pressure in sedentary people.
“Your activity level plays a role in determining how your body eliminates excess sodium. If you are sedentary or a light exerciser, you excrete most of it through your urine, but if you are active and exercise vigorously, much of it is purged through your sweat,” according to this report.
And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Sweating causes your body to eliminate many nutrients (and toxins). One of these nutrients is sodium. This is the reason why sports drinks often have added sodium (because athletes sweat so much and lose so much sodium).
You do, after all, need some sodium. Sodium is not the enemy. It is a mineral that helps to engineer the actions of every human cell.
Various studies show that the sodium/potassium ratio intake should be less than 1. Unfortunately, only 12 percent of the U.S. population has this adequate ratio. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum daily intake of 1,500 mg of sodium, but in reality 99.8 percent of the population consumes much more.
The important point that needs to be made is that sodium levels must be balanced with the other minerals that our bodies need to function. A good balance of sodium and potassium usually goes a long way to help reduce blood pressure. And adding some physical activity that results in sweating may improve your chances of reducing the likelihood of high blood pressure.
What else can you do to be proactive about managing your blood pressure?
There are usually no symptoms of having hypertension until it is very advanced and you have a cardiovascular event.
This is why it is imperative to have your blood pressure checked and know your numbers.
And another test you want to make sure you complete is a nutrient test. In order to ensure you have a healthy blood pressure, you need to be nutritionally balanced and make sure you have appropriate levels of sodium, magnesium, potassium and any other essential nutrient. When it comes to our health, more often than not, it is all about balance.
Remember, lowering your blood pressure goes way beyond simply passing on the salt shaker. You have to move (if you are able to), eat healthily and check your numbers. Obviously, for those who find it difficult to move and engage in some physical activity it is extremely important to focus on lowering salt intake.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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