I’ve worked with clients in the past who wanted to lower their blood pressure without resorting to drugs. I remember one gentleman in particular. He was one of my son, Matthew’s baseball coaches years ago. The first thing I recommended when I evaluated his diet was that he increase his water intake and include the right amount of natural, unprocessed salt. There were other suggestions, but that was the basic change I saw he would benefit from.
He questioned whether this was really a good idea thinking salt would raise his blood pressure. I explained that unless he was one of the very few people who were extremely sensitive to sodium, this would not raise his blood pressure at all. The key is to use the right kind of salt and the proper amount in combination with enough water. So he was willing to give it a try and within weeks he contacted me saying his blood pressure, which he checked daily at home, was consistently within normal range. But he also noticed he had much more energy and even dropped a few pounds without even trying.
Needless to say, he was a believer and now, almost 10 years later he is still off blood pressure meds.
Now this is not to say that you should eat a lot of salt. Not at all. Recent studies show that both very high salt diets as well as low salt diets were harmful to heart health.
Even more interesting, new studies show that too little salt can actually increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
I mentioned not only the right amount of salt but the right type of salt is critical. Processed, white table salt is sodium chloride and anti-caking ingredients. The type of salt we use in cooking and for health is natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan crystal salt or Celtic sea salt. There’s a huge difference here because those salts contain trace minerals as well.
That isn’t the end of the story, however. The reason most people get way too much sodium is two-fold. They eat too many processed, packaged “foods” which are very high in sodium and not nearly enough potassium-rich foods, like veggies, particularly leafy greens.
So it all comes back to nutrition and eating real foods. You need sodium. It’s an essential mineral just as potassium, calcium and magnesium are. However, you can get too much of a good thing. So keeping balance is critical.
Do you use natural salt or avoid salt in an effort to keep your heart healthy?
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