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Salt does not cause high blood pressure

All over the world salt (or sodium chloride)has a very bad reputation of increasing your blood pressure . Many people in North America are so scared of this important  ingredient that they are   filling their grocery carts with “low-sodium” products, or even attempting to eliminate salt from their diet entirely. While it is true that for  most of us  should it  be OK  to cut back on the salt, it is  not a 100% universal fact.  
Salt doesn’t cause high blood pressure
More accurately high blood pressure causes damage to blood vessels which in turn makes the blood vessels unable to tolerate salt. In this post  the facts about sodium and its relationship to blood pressure are presented.
Sodium as a Nutrient 
Nutrient is a  substance that provides nourishment  essential for growth and the maintenance of life.
  • Sodium is an essential mineral found in the human body.
  • It is necessary for the brain to be able to send signals to nerves and muscles throughout the body.
  • It is also necessary for the absorption of other nutrients.
  • In order for your body to function properly, you need to maintain a delicate balance of sodium and potassium.
  • Whatever sodium we  lose throughout the day needs to be replaced . For most people, the recommended amount is 1000 mg( milligram)  to 3000 mg of sodium per day which is 1 to 3 grams . If you are an endurance athlete or if your body excretes a large amount of sodium the need may be higher. Everyone is a little bit different in the way that they metabolize sodium. Metabolism is a process of converting food into energy. If someone has an excellent metabolism it means that he can utilize food to obtain energy in an excellent way.
High Blood Pressure Factors
Now what is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood in our body. In a simple layman’s understanding it   is the  measurement of the amount of energy  your heart has to utilize  in order to transport blood throughout your body. A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. The top number (systole) refers to the pressure (or energy)  against the artery walls when the heart  muscles contract and pump blood from the chambers into the arteries.  The bottom number (diastole) is the  pressure (or energy) which arteries expend  when the heart muscles  relax  and  blood flows into the heart chambers.
The biggest risk factor for high blood pressure is not sodium. The most important  risk factors are family history and weight. If you have a family history of high blood pressure and heart disease, you will be more likely to have high blood pressure. I am saying MORE LIKELY!!!!!!.  not necessarily. Additionally if you are overweight you will be more likely to develop high blood pressure.
Sodium and High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, sodium can cause you to retain too much water. By retaining more water in your blood vessels, you are making your heart work harder, which causes an increase in pressure(or energy) along the arterial walls. It means that heart is working more than in a case where a person has normal blood pressure.  This is why people with high blood pressure are often prescribed diuretics, to eliminate excess sodium from the body to reduce the heart’s work load.  A diuretic is any substance that promotes the production of urine.  There are several categories of diuretics. All diuretics increase the excretion of water from bodies, although each class does so in a distinct way.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
Many people consume too much sodium, especially people who eat processed snack foods(fast foods), do not exercise and have a very inactive life routine  have more chances of developing high blood pressure that their counterparts. 
The bottom line is that if you don’t have high blood pressure, sodium is not going to cause you to have high blood pressure
There are many foods that contain natural sodium. It is not only the sodium which you add to your food by a spoon that matters it is also that is present naturally. All what we are  concerned  is the food  label and not the  natural ingredients present in a particular food. You can find naturally occurring sources of sodium without adding extra salt to your food. Sodium is found is most meats, cheeses, and nuts. We should use the following recommendations to control our blood pressure:

Use more fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Processed foods usually contain more sodium .
·    When cooking use canola oil or olive oil, which contain less sodium, instead of butter or    margarine 
·      Check food labels for the words salt or sodium. Salt often is used as a preservative or 
fl     flavoring agent. Any ingredient that has sodium, salt or soda as part of its name 
       (monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda, and seasoned salt) contains sodium.
·     Do not use salt substitutes, especially those that contain potassium, without first talking to  your family doctor or a dietician.
      Try to season foods with herbs and spices rather than salt.
·     Try products such as low or reduced sodium to curb sodium intake.
Plan meals that contain less sodium. Try new recipes that use less salt and sodium-containing ingredients and seasonings. Adjust your own recipes by reducing such ingredients a little at a time. Make homemade condiments, dressings and sauces that are low in sodium.
Taste food before it is salted. If using canned food, rinse in water to remove some of the salt before preparing or serving.
In the following table a comparison of sodium content in natural and processed food is 
given. We can see that it increases with increase in processing.
Table 1. Sodium Comparisons—As sodium content increases, so does the level of processing.
Food Item
(1 serving)
Least Processed
Low Sodium
< 100 milligrams (mg)
per serving
Moderately Processed
Elevated Sodium
100-350 milligrams (mg)
per serving
Most Processed
High Sodium
>350 milligrams (mg)
per serving
Raw apple, 2 mg
Apple pie (frozen), 208 mg
Apple pie (fast food), 400 mg
Low sodium bread, 7 mg
White Bread, 114 mg
Plain Bagel, 561mg
Cooking fats
Vegetable oil, 0 mg
Butter(unsalted), 2 mg
Butter (salted), 116 mg
Margarine, 140 mg
Chicken, 69 mg
Chicken salad, 290 mg
Chicken pie (frozen), 907 mg
Chicken noodle soup,
1,107 mg
Chicken dinner (fast food),
2,243 mg
Fresh corn, 1 mg
Frozen corn,7 mg
Corn flakes, 256 mg
Canned corn, 384 mg
Raw Cucumber, 2 mg
Sweet pickle, 128 mg
Dill pickle, 928 mg
Flavorings and Marinades
Lemon, 1 mg
Ketchup, 156 mg
Soy sauce, 1,029 mg
Herbs, 1 mg
Mayonnaise, 103 mg
Salt, 1tsp-1,938 mg
Potato, 5 mg
Potato chips, 200 mg
Mashed potatoes (instant),
485 mg
Potato salad, 625 mg
Plain yogurt, 105 mg
Milk, 122 mg
Buttermilk, 257 mg
Choc. Pudding (instant),
470 mg
Red Meat
Steak, 55 mg
Ham (uncooked), 220mg
Corned beef, 802 mg
Jumbo burger (fast food),
990 mg
Lunch Meat (beef, pork),
540 mg
Raw Tomato, 14 mg
Salsa, 200mg
Tomato sauce, 1,498 mg
Fresh Tuna, 50 mg
Tuna, canned, 384 mg
Tuna pot pie (frozen),715 mg
Fish sandwich (fast food),
882 mg
Peanuts, unsalted, 8mg
Peanut butter, 81 mg
Peanut brittle, 145 mg
Dry roasted peanuts, salted,
986 mg
Low sodium cheddar, 6 mg
Cheddar cheese, 176 mg
Cottage cheese, 257 mg
American cheese, 406 mg
1Notice that most “elevated” to” high” level sodium foods are processed, meaning they are more likely to contain added ingredients such as preservatives- which means more salt.
    As a rough estimate 1/4th teaspoon of common salt is equivalent to 500 mg( milligram) of sodium which means 1 full teaspoon is equivalent to 2000mg or 2 gram of sodium. Sodium chloride is 40 % sodium and 60% chloride.
So be careful  and talk to your doctor before making any changes in your food recipes.

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