When your doctor says you have high blood pressure, they’ll recommend natural ways of lowering it, and often you’ll hear something along the lines of “watch your sodium intake”. But why? What does sodium have to do with high blood pressure?
Sodium is something of a necessary evil–we need the right amount of sodium in our bodies to retain water and stay hydrated, help our nerves transmit impulses, and influence muscle contraction and relaxation. But our blood pressure is in trouble when there’s too much! How is this possible?
It comes down to how your body takes in and gets rid of sodium, and how your kidneys work to keep a healthy balance. If you don’t have enough sodium, your kidneys will hold onto what you do have. If you have too much, your kidneys will help you dispose of the extra in your urine.
Sometimes, though, our kidneys just aren’t up for the job and all that sodium gathers in the bloodstream instead, attracting water and increasing blood volume. More blood means more pressure against your artery walls, which requires ber effort from your heart to pump that blood.
In the end, it leads to high blood pressure.
We get sodium naturally through fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy products. The real culprit of unnecessary sodium is found on grocery store shelves and frozen food aisles!
Extra sodium is sneaking into your diet by way of canned soup, frozen meals, pasta, bread, and processed lunch meats. Not to mention fast food products.
Small things like cutting your sodium intake can impact your heart health in a big way! See why L-Arginine Plus should be part of achieving better heart health.
The American Heart Association recommends you consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
Everyone is different, so this amount varies depending on age, gender, race, and what kind of work you do. Sometimes you need to cut back, and some people even need more sodium.
For example, competitive athletes or workers whose jobs expose them to high heat conditions probably need a little more salt to make up for what they lose in sweat and help them retain the large amounts of water they drink.
People with already high blood pressure or a family history of heart issues, will be more wary of their sodium intake, and try not to go over the recommended amount.
If your doctor tells you to back off on the salt, here are some small simple ways to do it, suggested by The Mayo Clinic:
• Check food labels
• Eat more fresh fruits, veggies, and meats
• Season foods with spices and herbs instead of just adding salt for flavor
• Skip the salt when cooking
• Look for low sodium products in your grocery store
Cutting sodium is only one of the ways you can boost your heart health. For more tips, see Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure.