Lower Sodium to Lower Blood Pressure

In the face of a public health campaign to lower sodium intakes in the United  States, a controversial health writer created confusion this year when he  claimed new research showed less sodium does not reduce cardiovascular disease,  and worse, lowering sodium may even cause more deaths.

However, when trained researchers scrutinized his studies, they found  glaring flaws. Health experts agree: It is still good advice to lower  sodium.

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure,  are the leading causes of death in the United States, and high blood pressure is  a major risk factor.

One in every three Americans is estimated to develop high blood pressure and  high sodium intakes are a contributing factor.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the evidence is  strong: As sodium intake decreases, so does blood pressure, but most Americans  are unaware of this and 90 percent of the population is consuming more than  needed.

Excess dietary sodium promotes fluid retention in the body and constricts  and stiffens vessels, which creates higher pressure. The heart works harder to  force a higher volume of blood through narrowed blood vessels. Over time this  damages the vessels, causes plaque build-up and weakens the heart.

The American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Heart Lung and  Blood Institute all agree: Americans will benefit from lowering sodium in their  diets.

The recommendation is to limit sodium to 1,500 mg daily for more than half  of the population – particularly African-Americans, people over the age of 51  and those with high blood pressure.

For everyone else, the aim is less than 2,300 mg.

Some exceptions apply. For example, people with certain medical conditions,  such as kidney disease, may need even lower amounts and endurance athletes may  need higher amounts because of sweat loss.

Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium daily with most from  processed prepared foods, like dehydrated rice and pasta packages, jarred and  canned tomato sauce, soups, frozen foods, salad dressings, deli foods, fast  foods, restaurant meals and the like.

There is very little sodium in fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and  unprocessed grains. A teaspoon of added salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.

To hit the sodium target, try dividing it up in a day; a good aim could be  500 to 600 mg per meal, leaving any extra for snacks. This can make assessing  sodium easier.

For example, three buttermilk pancakes at Denny’s (1,770 mg) or two slices  of pizza (1,500 mg) is excessive for one meal.

For example, three buttermilk pancakes at Denny’s (1,770 mg) or two slices  of pizza (1,500 mg) is excessive for one meal.

One cup of Rice-a-Roni (960 mg) is also over the target; natural brown rice,  peas or fresh-baked potatoes are better choices (less than 10 mg). Half a cup of  tomato sauce (560 mg) could be substituted with crushed tomatoes in puree (180  mg) or a bag of pretzels (450 mg) traded in for a piece of fresh fruit (less  than 1 mg).

Limiting sodium is a big part of the puzzle, but also important: Add foods  high in potassium, magnesium and calcium, minerals that dilate blood vessels and  lower pressure. Choose multiple servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily,  along with low-fat, calcium-rich foods.

Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/topstories/x470410695/HEALTHY-EATING-Sodium-study-was-misleading#ixzz2Aj2uCMzv

This entry was posted in Patriot Ledger Articles. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *