Salt and Blood Pressure – How Much Salt Should I Take?
Salt has been a source of food for us for thousands of years. At one time salt was essential to the human diet, but today many of us salt shampoos, salt mines and sea salt are depleted. So what is salt and why does it make us salt? Here are some facts to help you learn the answer to that question.
There are three main types of salt. Salt has a three fold classification depending on its sodium content. One of the three classifications is salt that is not processed and one class salt is processed salt that is an essential nutrient for the body. The other two salts fall into no classification and should be avoided by anyone trying to lose weight or regulate blood pressure.
Salt is a mineral that is found in many foods. The saltiest foods in the world are seawater and sea salt. This classification of salt is the salt that contains the most sodium content. Salt can also be derived from rock salt, unrefined salt, kosher salt, sea salt, and other forms of salt derived from the sea or from rocks. As far as the saltiest processed foods go, these include those high in salt, such as junk food, candy bar salt, and candy coated chips. People who want to get rid of salt in their diet need to start eating healthy salt substitutes.
Many dietitians recommend limiting salt intake to no more than two tablespoons of salt per meal. This is based on average intake for an adult. Most dietitians recommend that less salt is eaten at meals because the salt makes it harder to regulate blood pressure, which causes a wide range of negative effects. The salt causes our digestive system to work harder and causes people to feel physically sick and exhausted more often. These are all symptoms of a diet that is too high in salt.
The salt intake necessary to lower blood pressure is not set in stone; it can be adjusted easily based on one’s diet. One dietitian in an internet article suggests adjusting your salt intake to four tablespoons per day. Other dietitians in the same article suggest adjusting it to five tablespoons and even less if you have high blood pressure. They recommend using natural salt that comes from herbs instead of table salt because artificial salts cause much salt in the blood.
It’s important to know how many grams of salt used for processing your foods. Most salt shakers only indicate three grams of salt used for a medium sized salad or dinner. Some dietitians suggest eliminating any salt used for seasoning or added to foods if you have high blood pressure. The three grams of salt used for a medium size meal is equal to one teaspoon of table salt.
Most processed foods have about two percent sodium already included in the ingredients. Processed meats, canned fish and vegetables, sauces, salad dressings and frozen foods are most common sources of sodium. If salt isn’t used in moderation, then sodium can build up in the arteries and increase your blood pressure.
To prevent clumping of the salt inside your arteries, then reduce the amount of sodium and increase your potassium intake. Your physician may also prescribe medications such as beta-blockers and other antihypertensive drugs to lower your blood pressure. To prevent clumping of the salt within the walls of your arteries, then reduce the amount of sodium and increase your potassium intake. Your physician may also prescribe other medications such as beta-blockers and other antihypertensive drugs to lower your blood pressure.