Every individual wants blood pressure to live. Without it, blood would not have the ability to circulate throughout the body to carry fuel and oxygen vital organs. Blood pressure is the pressure your blood exerts from the blood vessel walls as your heart pumps.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure rises with every heartbeat and drops when the heart relaxes between beats, but there’s always a certain amount of pressure in the blood vessels. That blood pressure comes from two physical forces. The heart generates one force as it pushes blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system. Another force comes from the arteries resisting the blood circulation. Blood pressure varies from minute to minute and is influenced not only by action and rest, but also by temperature, diet, emotional state, posture, and drugs.

How Does High Blood Pressure Affect the Body?

High blood pressure increases the workload of the heart and blood vessels. The heart has to pump harder and the arteries must carry blood that is moving under higher pressure. If high blood pressure continues for quite a long time, the heart and arteries may no longer function and they should. Other body organs, including the kidneys, eyes, and brain also may be affected. People can live with hypertension for several years without having any symptoms. That’s why high blood pressure is often called “the silent killer” Though someone may have no symptoms, it does not indicate that the high blood pressure is not affecting the body.

Consequences

Having high blood pressure puts someone at more risk for strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, loss of eyesight, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). In rare instances, severe hypertension can occasionally cause headaches, visual changes, dizziness, nosebleeds, and nausea. Hypertension is rare in 80 percent of the planet’s population where salt intake is also quite low. In places where salt intake is high, the disease is epidemic, affecting roughly one half of adults. Most people consume an average of 10 to 15 g of salt every day. That’s two to three teaspoonfuls than the body requirements.

Sodium: Are you getting too much?

But a pinch and a dash of salt can quickly add up to unhealthy levels of sodium, particularly when many foods contain more than enough sodium. About 11 percent of the sodium in the normal diet comes from adding salt or other sodium-containing condiments to foods while cooking or eating. But most the sodium – 77 percent – comes from ingesting processed or prepared foods. So even though you may restrict the amount of salt you add to food, the food itself may already be high in sodium.

Sodium: Essential in Tiny amounts

Your body needs some sodium to operate properly

      • Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
      • Helps transmit nerve impulses
      • Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles

Your kidneys regulate the amount of sodium stored in your body. When sodium levels are low, your kidneys conserve sodium. When levels are high, they excrete the excess amount in pee. If your kidneys can not remove enough sodium, the sodium begins to accumulate in your blood. Because sodium attracts and retains water, your blood volume increases. Increased blood circulation, in turn, makes your heart work harder to move more blood through your blood vessels, increasing pressure on your arteries. Certain diseases such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease may result in an inability to modulate sodium. Some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of sodium than others. People that are sodium sensitive keep sodium easily, resulting in excessive fluid retention and increased blood pressure. If you are in that category, additional sodium in your diet increases your chance of developing high blood pressure, a condition that may result in cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

So how can you identify foods high in sodium?

The best way to determine sodium content is to read food labels. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how much sodium is in each serving. In addition, it lists whether salt or sodium-containing chemicals are ingredients. Examples of these compounds include:

      • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
      • Baking soda
      • Baking powder
      • Disodium phosphate
      • Sodium alginate
      • Sodium nitrate or nitrite

Three Major sources of sodium

Three main sources of sodium:

      • Processed and prepared foods. Most sodium in a person’s diet comes from eating processed and prepared foods, such as canned vegetables, soups, luncheon meats and frozen foods. Food manufacturers use salt or other sodium-containing chemicals to preserve food and to enhance the flavor and texture of food.
      • Sodium-containing condiments. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2,325 mg of sodium, and one tbsp of soy sauce has 1,005 milligrams of sodium. Adding these or other sodium-laden condiments to your foods – either while cooking or at the table – increases the sodium count of meals.
      • Natural sources of sodium. Sodium naturally occurs in certain foods, such as beef, poultry, dairy products and vegetables. For instance, 1 cup of low-fat milk contains about 110 mg of sodium.

Taste alone might not tell you which foods are high in sodium. For instance, you might not believe a bagel tastes salty, but a 4-inch oat-bran bagel has 451 milligrams of sodium.

How to reduce your sodium intake?

You may or might not be especially sensitive to the effects of sodium. And as there’s no way to know who might develop high blood pressure because of a high-sodium diet, select and prepare foods with less sodium.

Control your sodium intake many ways:

      • Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods. Eats plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. They need no extra salt. They also increase potassium shops, which helps reduce blood pressure.
      • Opt for low-sodium solutions. Look for unsalted snacks (if you want them) and foods which have reduced sodium.
      • Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. You may leave out the salt in several recipes, such as casseroles, stews and other main dishes. Baked products are an exception. Leaving out the salt can influence the quality in addition to the flavor of the food.
      • Limit your use of sodium-laden condiments. Salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard and relish all contain sodium.
      • Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to enhance foods. Learn to taste foods with lemon juice, parsley, tarragon, garlic, or onions, rather than salt.
      • Use salt substitutes wisely. Some salt substitutes or mild salts have a combination of table salt (sodium chloride) and other substances. To attain that familiar salty taste, you might use too much of this substitute and really not lower your sodium intake. Additionally, many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride. Though dietary fiber can reduce some of the injury of extra sodium, a lot of supplemental potassium can be harmful if you have kidney problems or if you are taking drugs for congestive heart failure or high blood pressure that cause potassium retention.

Learn About Label Terms for Sodium

Here Is What food product labels tell you about sodium:

      • Sodium Free Less than 5 mg sodium per serving
      • Low Sodium 140 mg or less sodium per serving
      • Reduced/Lower Sodium At least 25 percent less sodium per serving than a similar food
      • No Salt Added No salt is added during processing (if this item is normally processed with salt). The merchandise may not be a sodium free food, so check Nutrition Facts

Conclusion

A Diet very low in fat yet high in fiber lowers the blood pressure around 10 percent even without weight loss or salt restriction. . Every third adult in North America has elevated blood pressure. This puts them at risk for heart failure, stroke, and other debilitating ailments. Obesity, narrowed arteries, smoking, lack of exercise, estrogen, alcohol, and higher salt intake all contribute to the problem. Fortunately, most cases of hypertension can be reversed weeks by simple lifestyle and dietary changes.