Does Salt Really Cause High Blood Pressure?
Salt is commonly linked to high blood pressure – but is salt really all that bad for you?
You’ve probably heard something like this more than once:
“Salt causes high blood pressure. Cut down and eliminate salt from your diet and you’ll reduce the risk of high blood pressure.”
Now there’s some truth to that common wisdom – but it’s not nearly as black and white as it’s usually stated.
First off, we need some salt in our diet to stay healthy. Some people go as far as to claim that a no salt diet is worse for you than too much salt diet. That might be true but the point is that when it comes to salt, moderation is the key.
It’s really a question of balance. When it comes to BP it’s the balance between salt and potassium that’s important. Too much salt drives down the potassium levels in our blood. And too little potassium drives up our blood pressure.
In other words, to maintain healthy BP levels, we need salt in moderation, plenty of potassium. Good sources of potassium include bananas, avocados, and orange juice.
It’s true that many of us in Western industrialized society consume far too much salt in their diet. But we do so by default, not intention. The problem is that processed foods, fast food, and most restaurant meals, contain far too much salt. In short, modern diet results in excessive salt intake which in turn results in high blood pressure.
So what’s a fella to do? Go back to basics. It’s really as simple as that. Buy raw basic food stuffs and relearn cooking and preparing food. It’s called “slow food”. Take your time. Stop and smell the roses. Not only will you save a ton of money you’ll find your food tastes better – and you’ll feel better (with lower blood pressure).
Mind you, if you shift to preparing all your own meals from unprocessed food you’ll have to add some salt yourself. Otherwise you won’t get any salt. Our body needs some salt to stay balanced.
One more thing – not all salt is created equal. Far from it.
That stuff you buy at the store, the fine white stuff we put in shakers, is chemically processed sodium chloride. Or in other words, salt with all its natural goodness removed. Beware – many salt products labeling itself ‘Sea Salt’ is just branding, not fact.
Real sea salt harvested by traditional methods comes in larger light greyish crystals. It contains essential minerals and trace elements that form part of a natural wholesome diet. You’ll need a salt grinder to dispense it.
The best sea salt is Sel de Guerande harvested in Brittany, France. They’ve been doing it there for over a thousand years so they know their stuff.
To sum up, it’s fare to say that there’s a connection between high blood pressure and salt . But it would be more accurate to say that there’s a connection between hypertension and modern Western diets .
To avoid high blood pressure it’s not salt you must avoid but the modern diet of processed food.
If you need to lower blood pressure reduce or eliminate processed foods from your diet; eat or drink some potassium rich food at least one a day; exchange your table salt for naturally harvested sea salt.