Excess sodium and hypertension usually go hand in hand. Sodium – more commonly known as salt – is added to almost all types of processed food and people often drown their meals in salt to add ‘seasoning’. However, all these ‘little’ pinches of salt quickly build up.
How the kidneys work
The kidneys have a delicate balance of sodium and potassium that helps them regulate the amount of water stored in your body. Any excess water is expelled as urine to keep the levels just right. Unfortunately, overloading your body with salt wrecks this balance and stops the kidneys from working correctly. Water builds up in the body – and most importantly in the blood, which raises blood pressure.
As a result, salt and high blood pressrue are closely linked, which is why your physician might have recommended you cut down on your salt intake.
Cutting salt out of your diet can be difficult, especially when you don’t know what you’re eating. Always read the labels of food that you buy, but the best way to know what you’re about to cook is to take raw ingredients and make it yourself. Raw ingredients are unlikely to have salt added because much of the seasoning is added during or after cooking.
To give a great example: Chinese takeaway is one of the most salt-laden food types out there, but homemade Chinese food is actually one of the healthiest meals you can have! If you check the labels and try to cook more meals from scratch rather than relying on fast food, you’ll find your salt intake drops dramatically, and so will your blood pressure.
The less salt we use the less we need. It is just a matter of getting used to it, as most food already have traces of salt in them.