Salt and High Blood Pressure – dispelling the myth
Salt in moderation
The common wisdom these days regarding salt is that it’s bad for you. Period. Salt causes high blood pressure. Period. You must reduce or eliminate your salt intake. Period.
However, when you look a little deeper into the salt and high blood pressure link it’s not quite as black and white as commonly understood.
The fact is – no salt in your diet is unhealthy. We need a small amount of salt in our diet to maintain a balance. Moderation is the key, not an outright ban.
Of course it could be said that we don’t need to sprinkle salt on our foods because there’s more than enough salt contained in the modern diet. That’s true if your diet consists of eating at restaurants (where high levels of salt are contained in the preparation of meals) or you have a diet of mainly processed foods (canned foods, frozen goods, ready-made meals and snacks etc.).
Naturally harvested sea salt is the best for blood pressure
If your diet essentially consists of basic natural foods prepared at home then you’ll have to add some salt yourself. This is where you want to put your store-bought table salt (sodium chloride) away and pull out some naturally harvested sea salt. The finest is harvested in a centuries old traditional manner on the shores of Brittany France. This is nutritious salt at its best.
Nutritious salt? I kid you not. Naturally harvested sea salt is rich with minerals and trace elements that help keep your body and cardiovascular system in balance. Sure it costs more. But given the amount we use in a year the extra cost can be counted in cents, not dollars.
And it tastes better.
Potassium and salt and high blood pressure
To maintain healthy blood pressure levels you need a balance of both sodium and potassium in your blood. Many people with high blood pressure have been tested and found deficient in potassium. A lack of potassium can cause your blood pressure to rise.
There are two things that can cause a lack of potassium – too much salt intake and not enough potassium intake. Too much salt cancels out the effects of potassium to some extent. The flip side of this is that getting enough potassium balances your salt intake. As such, some nutritionists and doctors now argue that rather than focusing on cutting down on salt, it might be better to focus on getting enough potassium.
To ensure your diet has sufficient potassium, eat potassium-rich foods daily such as bananas, avocados, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, white beans, and salmon.
As you can see from the list above, the kinds of foods which are rich in potassium are healthy whole foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, pulses (legumes), and some fish. These are also low in added salt. Conversely, processed foods tend to be high in salt and low in potassium. So eating healthy natural foods will go a long way to sorting out your salt-potassium ratio. Then you can afford to add a little salt to your meals – say, no more than 2 grams of salt – about one teaspoon of table salt or a bit more if you’re using good natural sea salt.
There is no need for self-denial and abstinence to achieve healthy blood pressure naturally. Moderation is the key.
Buying good sea salt
Sel de Guerande is one of the best ‘brands’ of Breton sea salt. If you can’t find it in your local health food shop, you can buy it on Amazon:
More ways to lower your blood pressure naturally
Getting better quality salt is one step towards managing high blood pressure. However there’s a lot more you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally.
For a start, there’s a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.
Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) which affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.
This might sound daunting, especially if you’re just starting out on this route to better blood pressure but actually these changes can be incorporated quite easily into your everyday life.
The question is knowing what to do and figuring out how and when to do it. So to make it simple, we’ve put together a complete guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally:
The guide is laid out in 9 straightforward steps. You just follow the advice for each step – take it a week at a time or a month at a time, whatever suits you – and you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure and better health in general.
Not only is the guide easy to follow but it’s also enjoyable to follow, with lots of tasty food and drink suggestions, and useful tips and insights on lifestyle changes. Little things that – put together – can make a big difference.
Lowering your blood pressure naturally doesn’t have to be hard!
To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.
Salt and high blood pressure: some references
Read more about salt and blood pressure here:
Our own articles:
Overview of clinical studies into salt and health:
It’s time to end the war on salt (Scientific American)
Debunking the salt myth (Mercola.com)
What America can learn from the UK’s massive sodium experiment (The Washington Post)
On health effects of different kinds of salt:
Is salt really the villain it’s been made out to be? (Mercola.com)