Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yes, Salt is Ok With High Blood Pressure

Old school thought recommended cutting out salt completely or trying to target between 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of salt a day when a person has high blood pressure.  These recommendations have been based on  research showing that excessively high levels of salt consumption have been linked to a poor cardiovascular outcome and risk.  However, no research has shown that cutting back salt to very low levels have improved patient outcome.  Rather, excessively low sodium levels has shown to be harmful. 

The new research showing how low to no sodium level diets have posed health hazards is the poor typical approach of modern medicine.  Instead of trying to balance a person's diet or advocate healthy lifestyles, one single element is focused on and cut in an extreme manner.  Salt contains sodium which is a nutrient that is key to many cellular functions.  Too little sodium can trigger a hormonal response from the renin-angiotensin system that regulates blood pressure and has the potential to actually increase blood pressure.  Further, very low sodium is also associated with higher blood fats called lipids, which is another risk for cardiovascular disease.

In Ayurveda, food is evaluated on one's body type (or dosha).  While one body type may do better with a certain type of taste or food, total elimination of the food is never advocated.  Balance is the goal, and the word used to recommend food is favor.  The offending food should be limited, never eliminated.  Moreover, once a person is balanced, all the foods can be consumed but in a conscious balanced way.  The recent research demonstrates how the singular approach fails and even causes harm.

While people with high blood pressure should not excessively consume salt, some salt is needed for healthy body function.  Not all salts are created equal.  The salt consumed should be natural unprocessed salt, such as sea salt and Himalayan salt, which has naturally-occurring trace minerals.  Processed (table) salt is filled with man-made chemicals.  Unfortunately, most American diets contain the processed kind of salt.  Additionally, potassium, found in vegetables and fruits seems to lower blood pressure and heart risks, and offset sodium's effect.  So, eat fruits and vegetables with your salt to balance its benefits.

People think being healthy is all about cutting out good tasting food, but this is not the case.  It is about eating food in a balanced way.  Sometimes we don't always know how to balance food in a way that is best for our body type, but an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner can help you.

Stay healthy & well,

No comments:

Post a Comment