Tips To Reduce Salt Intake
Most of the salt we consume comes from ready-to-eat convenience foods, as well as foods prepared outside of the home. Here are some tips to help you reduce your salt intake:
How To Reduce Your Blood Pressure Without Medication
This past November, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines for when high blood pressure should be treated. For the first time in 14 years, theres no more prehypertension. If your blood pressure is running over 130/80, you officially have high blood pressure.
I never gave much thought to my blood pressure. Its always been spot on at 120/80 or a little bit lower . But like the rest of the world, Im getting a bit older, and Ive been dealing with some stressful stuff in my life recently, and apparently, its starting to affect my blood pressure. Not quite enough to require medication, but I do need to keep an eye on;it.
Needless to say, Im pretty upset, because Im one of those people who eats well, exercises most days, Im not overweight, and I do all the right things to stay healthy. Unfortunately, Im also very much of a type A personality, so I get stressed easily, and I let too many things bother me.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Damage to your blood vessels occurs every time your pressure is elevated. The new guidelines are meant to make people more aware of that earlier. ;Its their hope that more awareness earlier can help prevent the damage that would occur if you waited for a later diagnosis.
Learn the risk factors for hypertension, which include:
Lifestyle changes can reduce your blood pressure naturally
/6normal Blood Pressure Reading
The blood pressure monitoring machine displays two numbers, systolic and diastolic . The systolic number represents the pressure when the heart is contracting while the diastolic reading depicts the pressure of the blood when the heart muscles relax. The blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . As per the American Heart Association, there are five blood pressure categories.
Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic from 120 to 129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic ranging from 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Hypertension Stage 2: Constantly at 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic or higher.
Hypertensive Crisis: If the reading is higher than 180/120 mm Hg.
A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. In this condition, the blood vessel becomes inflamed and may leak fluid or blood. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively, which leads to heart stroke or heart attack.
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Low Blood Pressure And Pregnancy
A drop in blood pressure is common during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. The circulatory system starts to expand, and hormonal changes cause your blood vessels to dilate.
If you experience low blood pressure symptoms, let your OB-GYN know. You may need to pay more attention to your hydration during this time.
Pregnancy-related low blood pressure usually goes away later on in the pregnancy or shortly after delivery.
Its important to have your blood pressure checked and monitored during pregnancy to eliminate any underlying causes for it, such as anemia or an ectopic pregnancy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your overall activity level and dietary habits to determine what changes, if any, you should make.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
1. Pomegranate Juice
While most traditional fruit juices are laden with processed sugar and practically devoid of useful nutrients, 100 percent pomegranate juice is actually one of the healthiest juices on the planet.
One of the most desirable benefits of pomegranate juice includes the ability it has to lower blood pressure naturally. The science is in: Pomegranate juice has major blood pressure-lowering ability, both in short- and long-term studies.
It has also been tested for its ability to reduce blood pressure in patients with diabetes, patients undergoing kidney dialysis and those with carotid artery disease, all with the same successful results.
Weve all known for a long time that spinach is a crazy healthy food and helps seriously reduce disease-causing inflammation. The awesome antioxidants it contains land it on this list of foods that lower blood pressure.
A subject of relatively new research, coriander has been used traditionally for years to treat a number of conditions.
In 2009, a revolutionary study began attempting to define what exactly coriander can do. Researchers;found that it exhibited several positive benefits, including a hypotensive effect.
Theyre not just a snack anymore; pistachio nutrition is no small thing when it comes to heart health.
5. Beetroot Juice
In overweight and obese subjects past middle age, the effects are not as noticeable, at least in the short term.
6. Olive Oil
7. Dark Chocolate
8. Flax Seed
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What Foods Do You Eat To Increase Your Blood Pressure
Its possible that table salt is the least of our concerns.
- Seafood and Frozen Fish admin is to thank for this.
- Thinkstock is the source of this image. Too much salt has long been recognized to lead to high blood pressure.
- Salt from the sea. admin is to thank for this.
- Pizza and processed foods are two of my favorite foods. Thinkstock is the source of this image.
- Out-of-town meals and drinks
- Salmon, mackerel, and other omega-3-rich fish
Flavonoids Promote Gut Health
Flavonoids are found naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as in dark chocolate, tea, and wine. Earlier research has linked flavonoids to lower blood pressure and other markers of cardiovascular health.
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined data on eating habits and blood pressure followed 87,242 women and 23,018 men for more than a decade. None of them had hypertension at the start of the study. By the end, people who had the most flavonoids in their diets mostly from blueberries and strawberries were 8 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined eating habits, blood pressure, and arterial stiffness for 1,898 women. This study found that women whose diets had the least flavonoids primarily from berries and tea had much more arterial stiffness, a risk factor for events like heart attacks and strokes. Higher intake of flavonoids found in berries was also associated with 3.0 mmHg lower average systolic blood pressure.
It could be the specific flavonoids present in berries and red wine affected specific gut bacteria, which in turn, affected systolic blood pressure, but more research is needed to understand how certain foods and their flavonoids affect the gut microbiome and how this, in turn, affects blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, says Dr. Kris-Etherton, who wasnt involved in the new study.
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How Can Eating Affect Your Blood Pressure
When a person eats, their body redirects blood to the digestive tract to aid with digestion. This causes a temporary decrease in blood pressure elsewhere in the body.
To compensate, blood vessels outside of the digestive tract constrict, causing the heart to beat faster and more forcefully. This helps maintain healthy blood pressure throughout the body.
Some people experience a persistent drop in blood pressure after eating. This happens when the blood vessels outside of the digestive system do not constrict. Doctors refer to this condition as postprandial hypotension, or low blood pressure after eating.
A person with high blood pressure is more likely to experience postprandial hypotension.
Postprandial hypotension can cause complications such as:
- visual disturbances
- angina, or chest pain
Fasting for long periods can also cause a drop in blood pressure. Additionally, it may increase a persons risk of developing electrolyte imbalances and nutrient deficiencies.
Meanwhile, certain foods can increase a persons blood pressure after eating: Foods that contain a lot of salt may cause a temporary spike, while foods with saturated fats present a longer-term risk.
People with prehypertension or hypertension should limit their intake of foods that could further increase their blood pressure: foods that contain salt or saturated fat.
Blood Pressure Cuff Placement
Most blood pressure reading errors are the result of improper sizingof the blood pressure cuff or placing the cuff over clothing. Improperplacement of the cuff over clothing can cause your blood pressure measurementto increase 10 to 50 points. If the cuff is too small, it can add 2 to 10points your reading. Be sure to roll up your sleeve for a blood pressure testand also let your doctor know if the cuff feels too tight around your arm.
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Should We All Eat Less Salt
At an individual level, the benefit of reducing salt on blood pressure may be small. However, at a population level, this small reduction can have a significant benefit on public health.7 For this reason, reducing salt is encouraged by most dietary guidelines. To reach the 5 g of salt per day recommendation set by EFSA, both individuals and the food industry will need to commit to improving dietary choices and reducing the salt content of products, respectively.
Many EU countries have made progress in industry-led salt reduction campaigns, but more work is needed if we want to reach the target set by EFSA.8 There also remains some key challenges to help improve public knowledge and awareness on the importance of salt reduction.9;
Salt intake in Europe and across the globe remains well above recommended levels. The high prevalence of high blood pressure and the increased risk of disease it brings emphasises the importance of salt reduction campaigns for both industry and individuals.
Vegetables For High Blood Pressure
Like fruit, vegetables are full of potassium, magnesium, and fiber that help bring your blood pressure down. Keep in mind, you may need to eat more than you normally would for them to have an effect. The DASH plan recommends 4 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. From breakfast to dinner, that might look like 1 cup of raw spinach, half a cup of steamed broccoli, and 6 ounces of vegetable juice.
There are plenty of ways to work vegetables into your day: Throw spinach into your smoothie; eat a salad with dinner; munch on carrot sticks at lunch.
Stock up on these veggies that are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber:
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What Contributes To High Blood Pressure
When discussing foods that contribute to high blood pressure, much attention has been placed on blood pressure and salt content of meals. This is because the pressure of blood flow against the vessel walls increases with the larger volume of water that sodium attracts. That being said, some amounts of sodium are necessary for blood pressure and blood volume management, just not in excess.
While the sodium-blood pressure connection is well established, another key factor may be the amount of sugar a patient with high blood pressure risk ingests from a variety of foods. Spikes in blood pressure may occur following the consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as the sugars found in processed foods. These types of food have little-to-no nutritional value.
A study published in the;British;Medical;Journal;suggests that, while more research and focus should be placed on blood pressure and sugar, there is evidence that sugar may be a bigger factor than sodium when it comes to high blood pressure risks. It also separates naturally occurring sugars from those found in pre-packaged foods such as high-fructose products.
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, happens when blood pressure rises to dangerously high levels. The volume of blood traveling through your blood vessels and the level of resistance the blood encounters when the heart is beating are factors in measuring your blood pressure.
Narrowing of the arteries increases resistancethe more significant the narrowing of your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Increased pressure can lead to health problems such as heart disease in the long run.
Early detection is critical. Regular blood pressure checks might assist you and your doctor in detecting any changes. If your blood pressure is raised, your doctor may want you to monitor it for a few weeks to determine if it remains excessive or returns to normal levels.
Prescription medicines and healthy lifestyle modifications are used to treat hypertension. If the disease does not address on time, it can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
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Frozen Fish And Seafood
Fresh fish have low sodium levels, while frozen fish can have high salt levels due to the freezing preparation process of using brine, oil, or syrup. These products also may have added salt for freshness and can affect the salt and blood pressure relationship, for the worse.
Most frozen shrimp choices contain high levels of sodium ranging from 100 to 500 milligrams in each three-ounce serving.
Lifestyle Changes To Avoid Raising Blood Pressure
Other than dietary changes, two of the best lifestyle choices you can make when worried about hypertension are to improve physical activity and take measures to reduce your weight. Staying activeat least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a weekhelps keep your cardiovascular system strong and improves the flexibility and function of your arteries and blood vessels.
Losing weight also works to reduce the strain on your circulatory system, but only if youre overweight. Fortunately, a blood pressurefriendly diet and some regular exercise can be a good way to shed some pounds.
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Can Eating Cause Your Blood Pressure To Go Lower Or Higher
If your doctor has suggested measuring your blood pressure at home, its likely theyve recommended you take your morning measurement before eating. Thats because the reading will often be lower than normal following a meal.
When you eat, your body directs extra blood to the stomach and small intestine. At the same time, blood vessels that are distant from your digestive system narrow, and your heart beats harder and faster.
This action maintains the blood flow and blood pressure to your brain, extremities, and elsewhere in your body.
If your blood vessels and heart dont respond correctly to the extra blood directed to your digestive system, blood pressure everywhere but the digestive system will decrease. This is called postprandial hypotension. It can result in:
Does Reducing Salt Improve Our Blood Pressure
There is consistent evidence that moderate reductions in salt intake can lead to a reduction in blood pressure.5,6 However, these effects may not be the same for everyone and will depend on an individuals starting blood pressure , their current level of salt intake, genetics, disease status and medication use.
It is important to note that salt is not the only lifestyle factor that can influence our blood pressure. Other factors such as eating enough potassium, maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, and being physically active are also important when it comes to reducing blood pressure. You can find 7 lifestyle tips to help reduce blood pressure here.
Figure 3. Tips to improve blood pressure.
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How Common Is High Blood Pressure In Europe
In 2015, an estimated 1.13 billion people were living with high blood pressure globally, of which 150 million were living in Europe .4 Although the prevalence of high blood pressure in many European countries has decreased slightly in recent years, current levels are still of great concern. Reducing salt intake remains an important public health strategy to decrease levels further.
As with salt intake, the prevalence of high blood pressure tends to be higher for men than for women . The exact reason for this difference is not fully understood, but higher intakes of salt may be partly to blame.
Figure 2. ;Prevalence of high blood pressure 140 mmHg OR diastolic blood pressure >90 mmHg) in men and women across European countries.4
Foods To Combat Hypotension
There are certain dietary measures that can help relieve hypotension. We can divide them into groups according to the benefits they bring us in order to raise blood pressure:
- Foods rich in vitamin B12
- Iron-rich foods
- Salty foods
- Foods that regulate blood pressure
Here are some foods that have these properties, so you can easily guide you when choosing food to help you control your blood pressure.
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When Is Blood Pressure At Its Highest
While youre asleep, your blood pressure usually drops. A few hours before you wake up, your blood pressure begins to increase. Throughout the day, your blood pressure rises, typically peaking in the middle of the afternoon. Your blood pressure starts to decrease again in the late afternoon and evening.
High Blood Pressure Diet
Healthy food is like medication for high blood pressure. Except you dont need a prescription, and you wont have to worry about side effects. Just choose wisely, eat, and repeat.
Whether you follow DASH or chart your own course, try to focus on what you can eat instead of what you cant. Like any other healthy diet, a diet to lower blood pressure will emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fats, fried foods, and salty snacks.
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