Myth about Salt and Blood Pressure
You will be surprised to know that there is only one study done called dash sodium study that shows the relation between high bp and consuming sodium. Researchers in that study have also mentioned to lower the sugar (the glucose) which plays a major role in causing high bp but they didn’t tell you about this. Even the recent study which involved 6000 people showed that there is no strong evidence in the relationship between eating salt and increasing blood pressure.
Do you know that Sodium is very necessary for survival? You cannot live without Sodium. But you have to have it in the right amount. We need about a 1000 mg (a quarter teaspoon) of sodium per day. But you know that salt is not just sodium it is sodium chloride. so about only half of sodium chloride has sodium.
Importance of Sodium
We need sodium to regulate our heart, our body fluids. It acts like an electrolyte that keeps the balance of volume of fluid in the body. Sodium works with other minerals to maintain that balance. Lowering sodium will affect your brain, your muscles, your heart. Hence you need sodium.
There is a condition of low sodium in the blood called hyponatremia. This is because of drinking lots of water and consuming less salt. The water just flushes out your vitals electrolytes and you end up with very low sodium in the blood which is setting you up with a lot of heart problems, swelling in the brain, and more serious ailments. Hence too much water is not good. Drink only when you are thirsty.
How do you know you need Sodium?
Well, if you have craving for salt then you need sodium. If you have too much fluid retention in your legs, in your fingers or in your body then it means there is too much sodium. But instead of reducing sodium in your body it’s much more important to raise the other electrolyte that sodium works with. That electrolyte is called Potassium. We need over 4 times the amount of potassium than we do sodium.
From where to get Potassium
Well, you need a lot of potassium and that can come from large amounts of salads. You need to consume around 7 to 10 cups of salad or vegetables every single day to balance your potassium with sodium. An average person consumes about 3400 mg of sodium and only a 1000 mg of potassium which is totally opposite ratio and hence a person faces fluid retention in his body after some period of time due to this imbalance between sodium and potassium. Hence you should not worry about lowering your sodium but instead, you should increase your potassium. Also avoid all kinds of hidden salts like monosodium glutamate (MSG) from the junk foods, fast food restaurants, etc. You should avoid eating sugar because sugar depletes potassium and retains sodium.
Sources of Potassium
1 Cup Equals
Beet Greens: 1308 mg
Swiss Chard: 960 mg
Avocado: 897 mg
Winter Squash: 896 mg
Spinach: 838 mg
Sweet Potato: 694 mg
Potato: 610 mg
Banana: 401 mg
Potassium helps in the following
Blood Pressure: Potassium helps maintain blood pressure because it gets rid of excess sodium to help balance potassium sodium ratio because sodium tends to retain fluid increasing blood pressure. So potassium will lower the blood pressure.
Metabolism of Protein: If you are a meat eater and you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, you won’t be able to metabolize that protein which helps in building your hair, nails, tissues, skin, ligaments. Hence you need potassium to be able to create proteins on your body.
Blood Sugar and Cravings: Potassium controls the blood sugars. You know that in order to store blood sugar in your liver, your muscles you need potassium. So without potassium, you are going to crave sweet and sugar like crazy and your blood sugars will be more erratic. So by taking more potassium, you can help stabilize blood sugars.
Heart Function: Potassium is the main electrolyte which helps heart functions so you need potassium for the heart to function to avoid getting palpitations, arrhythmias and things like that.
Sleep: Potassium is a relaxer, so it helps you sleep at night. it helps recovery and it helps prevent kidney stones. but most people don’t even consume potassium close to the normal amount that you need per day ie: 4700 mg. That would be 7 to 10 cups of salad per day.
Why there is a Craving for Salt after Eating Salad or Vegetables
Its because vegetables are really high in potassium and very low in sodium. So when you consume large quantities of potassium you need more salt to balance it out because they work together.
Avocado has 874 mg of Potassium and only 16 mg of Sodium. Broccoli 505 mg of Potassium 42 mg of Sodium. Celery 344 mg of Potassium to a 103 mg of Sodium. So you can see that Celery has a lot of Sodium compared to these other ones and then we have Kale which has 296 mg of Potassium and 229 mg of Sodium. Lettuce has 324 mg Potassium and 8 mg of Sodium.
What type of Sea Salt is Best
Pink Himalayan Salt and Black Himalayan Salt is best because it’s from the mountains which were in the ocean a long time ago. It has a high amount of sulfur which is really good for the liver, its good for detoxifying minerals and for many skin conditions. Sulfur is in all the cruciferous vegetables like Kale, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Radish.
Sea salt is the purest and unpolluted than table salt. You should not take sea salt which is in the current environment now because that is polluted with sewage and chemicals. So get Pink Himalayan Salt or Black Himalayan salt.
Why you should choose Sea Salt Vs Table Salt
Do you realize that a low salt diet will actually increase your cholesterol and triglycerides? It will also lower your blood pressure. Let’s take a look at by how much if you have normal blood pressure and you go on a low salt diet it will decrease your blood pressure by 1% which is very insignificant. If you have high blood pressure and you’re gonna low salt diet it will decrease it by 3.5% again very insignificant. In other words, a low salt diet is not significant in protecting the heart against heart problems at all.
So all of our attention is on Sodium. We are just told repeatedly that Sodium is bad and we need to reduce sodium but no one tells us to increase Potassium. Take a look at this. A Low potassium diet will increase your risk of high blood pressure, increase your risk of getting a stroke, increase the risk of kidney stones but doctors don’t emphasize on Potassium. The truth is that high blood pressure is many times caused by a potassium deficiency and not a sodium excess.
So the RDA for sodium is about 2,300 milligrams yet an average American will consume about 3,300 milligrams of sodium every single day so that would be an excess of a thousand milligrams but the RDA for potassium per day is 4700 mg and the average American consumes only 2,640 giving your deficiency of 2,060. so, in reality, it’s much more a potassium deficiency than a sodium excess that’s responsible for high blood pressure. so start consuming more salads you need at least minimally 7 cups of vegetables every single day to get you close to this requirement.
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