Everyone knows that when you have high blood pressure, you’re supposed to cut out the salt. But is it as simple as that?
Turns out, it is less about the salt and more about the dietary electrolyte balance in your body.
Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and chloride are all electrolytes that play an important role in maintaining your blood pressure. If they get out of whack, your blood pressure will follow suit.
In today’s standard American diet, intake of processed and heavily cooked foods with added sodium and depleted nutrients is the norm. On the other hand, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables — nature’s source of potassium, naturally occurring sodium and the other electrolytes in perfect balance — are at an all-time low.
With little intake of good dietary electrolytes on top of high intake of added sodium, it’s no wonder that today’s diets typically have an imbalanced 2:1 sodium-potassium ratio instead of the more ideal 1:3 ratio.
Other electrolytes like calcium and magnesium are low as well. This can play a big factor in hypertensive disease.
If you understand how important electrolyte balance is, you will understand that simply cutting out table salt may not do much to lower your blood pressure by itself if you’re not also going to correct an existing electrolyte imbalance by greatly increasing your servings of fruit and vegetables.
The good news is, fruit and vegetables are bursting with flavor and sweetness. If you eat enough of them you will feel satiated and chances are you won’t even miss the table salt.
Tomatoes and celery are great salty tasting foods. If you need a little flavor with your vegetables, try salt-free spices, sun-dried tomatoes or even dehydrated, crushed celery instead.
Keeping your dietary electrolytes in balance through a healthy diet, along with other healthy habits like exercising and watching your cholesterol intake, will go a long way toward helping you achieve the ideal blood pressure of 120/80 or under.