Low Sodium Diets To Lower high Blood Pressure
If you have been told by your Doctor to reduce the salt in your diet you have come to the right place!
The usual reason for reducing the salt you eat is to help lower your blood pressure. The usual diet restriction is a "2 gram sodium diet".
First of all let’s do a little defining of words. When we talk about salt in relation to food, we are generally talking about white crystals called sodium chloride.
This substance is a widely loved and adored seasoning. Almost every table has a salt shaker which sits on it as a permanent fixture.
Our taste buds are so desirous of this substance that if our food is not adequately seasoned with it, we consider the food inedible.
So with that knowledge one can understand the sighs and groans that often follow a suggestion of reducing salt. But step back and consider that lowering salt intake is a safe, no cost, natural cure that has a good potential to lowering your blood pressure. It is what we would call a cure that has no side effects… except most consider bad taste a worrisome side-effect!
Bad taste is a valid complaint. In the Scriptures Job, echos the same sentiment!
“Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there [any] taste in the white of an egg?“ Job 6:6-8
But then the Bible also gives us an allegory of a plant not doing well in soil which has too much salt.
“For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, [in] a salt land and not inhabited.” Jeremiah 17:6
So what we need to do is make sure our food tastes good without using more salt than would be healthy to our body. So there is balance! Salt is needed, but in moderation.
Think of it this way, if you have been prescribed a 2 gram sodium diet, your Doctor is just asking that you eat a smidge under what everyone should be eating!!! There are some exceptions and be sure to note them at the end of the page. But the good news is that the sooner you start the low salt (or 2 gram sodium) habit the faster the side-effect of bad tasting food will go away. It won’t happen overnight but given a few days, and a few months for those diehard salt lovers, your tastes will change.
Instead of requiring the salty taste, people find they begin to enjoy the more delicate flavors which they never before realized were present. For example, you will begin to notice the natural sweetness in the grain. More than one person who has declared themselves unable to cut back on salt has found that after suffering through only a week of salt restriction, things they thought were just average saltiness, now taste too salty.
Important Rule of Thumb
One level teaspoon of salt is 2,300 mg of Sodium.
So if you have been prescribed a 2 gram sodium diet then you will need to limit yourself to a scant teaspoon of table salt per day.
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) the Yanomamo Indians of Brazil lived on diets that contained less than 200 mg of sodium chloride per day. However, the USDA gives the following recommendation for adequate intake*.
1500 mg/day (about 2/3 teaspoon) for young adults
1300 mg/day (a little over ½ teaspoon) for adults age 50-70 years old
1200 mg/day (a smidge over ½ teaspoon) for people 71 years old and above
*Adequate intake or AI is understood to be the amount that you would not want to go below.
That said, the upper-limit of how much sodium we should eat was established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as 2,300 mg/day. This amount is used in food labeling in the USA and also in Canada. It is a very convenient amount to remember and work with as it represents 1 teaspoon of salt! But keep in mind this includes all sources of sodium. Here is an amazing statistic: The average American eats about 4,000 mg of sodium per day. About 75% of that sodium is added during processing and manufacture of our food.
Knowing this is VERY IMPORTANT as it gives you an important clue to how you can get your salt intake down to under one teaspoon of salt a day. So let’s get down to how it is done.
You have a choice. There are many ways to reduce your sodium intake. Let’s look at a few:
1) The Label Game.
Look at the label and choose lower sodium options. There are usually lower sodium beans, lower sodium tomatoes, lower sodium soups and dressings. But be careful with this game as you can be easily fooled. Be sure to look at the serving size! If the sodium content is lower but the serving is smaller than you would ordinarily eat you haven’t accomplished anything.
2) Avoid Hidden Sources.
For example, many baking sodas and powders have high amounts of sodium. Soy Sauce is a very high sodium substance. Some people try to use soy sauce in place of salt not realizing that soy sauce contains just as much sodium as the salt they just omitted.
3) Stop Using The Salt Shaker.
This technique recommends taking it off the table and throwing it away. Experts estimate that some people get as much as 30 percent of their sodium from the salt shaker. Let’s face it for some people shaking salt on their food is a habit. Some even add salt BEFORE tasting their food! A 30 percent reduction would bring many people closer to what they should be eating.
4) Taste Substitution.
This method uses herbs and spices to take the place of the salt. Common items used are onions, garlic, ginger or oregano. This give the taste buds something to detect that will help hide the lack of sodium. One must be careful with this technique as some of the spices commonly used can cause other problems. For example a person may use black pepper, which can irritate the stomach lining, or they may use a season salt that uses hydrolyzed vegetable protein to enhance the food flavors through refined amino acids (proteins). Refined amino acids should be avoided due to the accumulation of evidence which shows us that it can be damaging to the nervous system. .
5) Salt Substitution.
Some people find a salt such as potassium chloride, instead of sodium chloride, helps them achieve the salty taste they desire. There are a few downsides to this technique that must be mentioned. First, some people dislike the bitter aftertaste of the potassium salt. But many people don’t taste the bitterness at all. The other downside is that by simply substituting the potassium for the sodium, one is not changing his or her taste. This means you are basically trying to achieve lower sodium levels while still having the sodium taste. Eventually this could work against you. People will often still crave the highly salted manufactured foods which are not available with the potassium salt substitute.
6) Put It Where You Want It Most.
This technique is the opposite of throwing out the shaker. Instead a set amount of salt per day is put on the table, for example a ¼ teaspoon. Then no salt is used in cooking. This salt lowering technique lets the person put the salt where they want it most. It also puts the salt right on the top of the food where the tongue immediately feels it. This technique works best for people who eat mostly at home and cook the majority of their food from scratch.
7) Back To The Basics.
Here is where we take the statistic that 75% of our sodium comes from food processing and manufacture and we use it to our advantage. The method of this technique is to eat whole foods as close to natural as possible. For example, eat a baked potato drenched with freshly made salsa, in place of a bag of potato chips. This is probably the best way to lower you sodium content as it will not only lower your salt intake but it will give you many other health benefits also.
So what you will do will largely depend on your personal preferences and how much reduction in salt your condition warrants. You may find it best to do several of the above techniques.
But here is a little known secret that you must consider! Where water goes, sodium follows. Or we can say it the other way too. Where sodium goes, water will follow.
In your body, the removal of water from your body (through your kidneys) results in the removal of sodium also. This is the basis for many diuretic (water removing) medications. The bad part of the diuretic is that it removes water (so it can remove the sodium), but it does not replace the water. In most situations this leaves you in a state of dehydration… not good.
This sets you up for a condition of thick sticky blood, which can worsen your high blood pressure in the long run… also not good.
So the point is, use water as part of a natural health cure to lower blood pressure! It is another one of those affordable natural health cures!
Be sure to read this page to find out how sticky, sluggish blood can cause high blood pressure.
So the point is, use water as part of a natural health cure to lower blood pressure! It is another one of those affordable natural health cures! THE EXCEPTIONS!
Please keep in mind that if your physician has told you to limit your water intake for a condition such as kidney failure, you need to adhere to his or her advice. Our goal is to let as many people know this information before they develop kidney failure. Once kidney failure occurs a person loses much of their ability to choose how they eat. That is why using the natural health cure of water to prevent conditions such as high blood pressure which contribute to kidney failure becomes a very liberating cure when used before it is too late.
The other thing that must be considered is that if you take a medication called Lithium, you should NOT limit your sodium intake. In fact you will likely have to add a little extra. The reason is that Lithium causes your body to get rid of sodium. If your blood sodium levels drop to low this can result in a serious and life-threatening condition. Be sure to follow the recommendations of your physician as he or she should be drawing your blood frequently to make sure your sodium levels are in the appropriate range.
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