A recent study published by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) showed 9 out of 10 Americans, both adults and children, have a higher sodium intake than recommended.
The recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 mg per day but 90% of people are eating closer to 3,400 mg per day.
Sodium and high blood pressure are directly linked, along with heart disease, and stroke.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is medically defined by your systolic pressure, the measurement of the pressure on your arteries when your heart beats, and diastolic pressure, the measurement of the pressure on your arteries between heart beats.
About 1/3 of Americans suffer from hight blood pressure. Of that third only about 50% have it under control.
A normal blood pressure will read 120/80 or below, and anything higher than that can become dangerous for your heart.
Below is a more visual way to see what a normal blood pressure level is and what is too high.
Prehypertension is the stage just before blood pressure is too high. This is when you want to start backing off sodium and get back to the normal zone.
Blood pressure rises when plaque builds up and causes the blood vessels’ passageway to narrow and slows down blood flow.
Otherwise, high blood pressure can easily sneak up on you and cause problems like heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.
How Does Sodium Affect Blood Pressure?
High sodium levels are directly correlated to high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The kidneys’ function becomes inhibited when there is too much sodium in the blood and can’t separate the salt from the blood stream. Water builds up to prepare to filter the sodium and can also attribute to high blood pressure. If there is too much sodium to be flushed out, the sodium then builds up and puts much more added strain on the blood vessels and heart.
The added stress on the arteries from increased blood pressure forces the blood vessels and arteries to tighten and thicken. Oxygen is reduced in the blood stream and limits the amount of oxygen that the heart can receive, blood clotting and possibly a heart attack.
Plaque build up and lack of blood flow is a condition called atherosclerosis. The phases of it are show below.
High blood pressure can be easily managed by eating healthier and taking supplements, like L-Arginine, when needed. L-arginine helps open up blood vessels and promotes healthy blood flow.
High blood pressure needs to be prevented or managed before it spirals into something worse, like heart disease.
How Do I Lower My Sodium Intake?
Many do not realize how much sodium is in the food they eat, especially when eating out.
Restaurants tend to load on the salt to make food more flavorful. You can ask the waiter to have the cook to prepare your food with reduced salt or none at all.
Be mindful of what pre-prepared food you buy at the grocery store. Most have massive amounts of salt per serving so it can stay preserved longer.
Read the labels before you buy it and try to get reduced sodium versions of the meal when possible.
Another way to monitor your sodium is to cook at home more often. This way you can control the way your food is prepared.
Make sure to taste your food before adding salt to it at the table because it probably tastes great without it!