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anonguest

High Blood Pressure / Low Salt Diet

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So.....my long trusted and friendly GP tells me my blood pressure is now on the high side.  :-(

A check of historical recordings show it gradually increasing over the years - as opposed to there being a relatively sudden jump. Now at a level where he says he would be inclined to prescribe medication BUT that a period of lifestyle adjustment could well easily bring it back to acceptable levels.

Most obvious change that could yield dramatic improvement is reduction in salt.  Aware of this factoid already - even the supposed 6g per day maximum recommended.

The real shocker, as a result of the diagnosis, was from suddenly taking to looking at the small print nutrition details on everyday food shopping items. Now I see just what the fuss is that I hear periodically on the news/in the media about there being too much salt in our everyday food!  A look at a typical selection of daily foodstuffs I would consume and quick mental arithmetic showed how it would be almost impossible NOT to exceed the 6g per day!  And I am referring to 'ordinary' foodstuffs, such as bread, rather than obvious culprits, such as junk/processed stuff or obviously salty stuff like packs of peanuts, etc.

I'm left thinking the only thing left to eat would be raw vegetables and the odd bit of boiled chicken.  :-(

Some immediate questions are.....

Presumably the oft quoted 6g/day is the maximum recommended - and that to see real benefit/blood pressure reduction the intake would need to be even noticeably lower than that?

IF salt levels in various foodstuffs are higher than they need be what is the rationale for manufacturers using the high amounts? (e.g.taste based motivation, shelf life issues, etc)

and,

How the heck does anyone else manage to keep to 6g/day ?!

 

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Try this......stop eating crisps, snacks, cut down on processed meats and ready meals..... don't go anywhere near a Chinese takeaway.;)

salt-low-salt-salt-300x300.jpg

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Thanks.

But just to clarify.....I rarely eat 'junk' (e.g. crisps, ready meals) and have a chinese takeaway maybe only a few times a year! I never find myself sprinkling salt onto food or into soups, etc - and so would have no need to the product shown above.

The only processed food I eat is pretty much what I guess almost all here eat? Bread, cereals, milk, cheese (Swiss I should add - which just so happens to be one of the lowest salt content types), tinned fish, etc.

I don't smoke or drink either! Though I confess to a sweet tooth. But chocolate or chocolate Hob Nobs can hardly be the main culprits?

My point was that looking at the quoted salt contents in all these everyday 'ordinary' foodstuffs makes me wonder how it is possible to avoid, over an average day, not to exceed 6g of salt intake.

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" Try TM? "

Transcendental meditation? WOT!? With my family!

 

"Or simply relax and let your BP fall an hour before your appointment."

Whilst in the consultation room I couldn't help momentarily smirk, when asked about possible stress related activities that may contribute to raised blood pressure, and think of reading house price related stuff on HPC.   LOL

That aside, yes, the chap did say that GP measured levels can tend to be a wee bit higher than when more routinely measured at home and at leisure. So I guess I will be going shopping this week for some sort of DIY/home BP measure device, and start keeping a log.

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23 minutes ago, anonguest said:

So.....my long trusted and friendly GP tells me my blood pressure is now on the high side.  :-(

A check of historical recordings show it gradually increasing over the years - as opposed to there being a relatively sudden jump. Now at a level where he says he would be inclined to prescribe medication BUT that a period of lifestyle adjustment could well easily bring it back to acceptable levels.

Most obvious change that could yield dramatic improvement is reduction in salt.  Aware of this factoid already - even the supposed 6g per day maximum recommended.

The real shocker, as a result of the diagnosis, was from suddenly taking to looking at the small print nutrition details on everyday food shopping items. Now I see just what the fuss is that I hear periodically on the news/in the media about there being too much salt in our everyday food!  A look at a typical selection of daily foodstuffs I would consume and quick mental arithmetic showed how it would be almost impossible NOT to exceed the 6g per day!  And I am referring to 'ordinary' foodstuffs, such as bread, rather than obvious culprits, such as junk/processed stuff or obviously salty stuff like packs of peanuts, etc.

I'm left thinking the only thing left to eat would be raw vegetables and the odd bit of boiled chicken.  :-(

Some immediate questions are.....

Presumably the oft quoted 6g/day is the maximum recommended - and that to see real benefit/blood pressure reduction the intake would need to be even noticeably lower than that?

IF salt levels in various foodstuffs are higher than they need be what is the rationale for manufacturers using the high amounts? (e.g.taste based motivation, shelf life issues, etc)

and,

How the heck does anyone else manage to keep to 6g/day ?!

 

Salt has three main roles in foods :

a) flavor enhancer.

B) preservation.

c) processing.

c) probably is the only one that requires explanation. For some foods, the correct salt content assists in some aspect of the manufacturing. So for example an extrusion process might work better/more efficiently if the salt content is at a certain level.

The salt also exists in the food in different ways. For example some might be easily "released" when the food is chewed (that's required obviously for flavor enhancement). More "bound" salt may not be released at all when the food is chewed. From a flavor enhancement perspective you might want all the salt to be "releasable" but in it's releasable form it might not fulfill one of the other functional roles.

There is quite a bit of research goes on into this sort of stuff because obviously as you are finding out it has quite a lot of impact on health.

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1 minute ago, Gigantic Purple Slug said:

Salt has three main roles in foods :

a) flavor enhancer.

b )  preservation.

 

I've no doubt about (a) - which begs the question of just how bland the underlying food would taste IF the salt content was reduced by, say, half.  For example, the other day I had a 'fresh soup' from Sainsburys - chicken and mushroom. I now see that particular product has a whopping 3g of salt! Yet it hardly felt as if salt was significantly present - and thus reducing it would surely not stop one from tasting the chicken, etc.

Which leads to (b) and my suspicion that it is indeed being used more as a preserver, for commerical reasons, than for reasons of taste?

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Just now, anonguest said:

I've no doubt about (a) - which begs the question of just how bland the underlying food would taste IF the salt content was reduced by, say, half.  For example, the other day I had a 'fresh soup' from Sainsburys - chicken and mushroom. I now see that particular product has a whopping 3g of salt! Yet it hardly felt as if salt was significantly present - and thus reducing it would surely not stop one from tasting the chicken, etc.

Which leads to (b) and my suspicion that it is indeed being used more as a preserver, for commerical reasons, than for reasons of taste?

I think taste is a big issue because if people like the taste they will like the product more and buy more. You may feel the taste of salt was barely there in the product, but unless you did a taste comparison without it you wouldn't know.

Addition of salt is a (very) cheap way of enhancing the taste. I don't know about legislation, but my guess is that food manufacturers are under some significant pressure from governments to reduce salt content in foods because it's a major health issue.

Re your particular problems, if your diet really is OK (and some people aren't 100% honest with themselves on this, or even understand that their diets are bad) then you might want to look at other things like exercise. Although exercise doesn't always have a huge effect it may be that you're genetically more susceptible to exercise than diet.

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First thing is first: get yourself a BP monitor and start making logs of your BP throughout the day. This will help you understand when your BP peaks and sags. Remember that it is the peaks you need to work on. Concentrating on your lows is just lying to yourself, as is fiddling your BP ahead of doctor's appointments.

Besides equiping you with a baseline to determine whether you are making progress, you will find that measuring BP regularly will in itself have a beneficial effect as you will become accutely aware of how your mood is raising your BP and this will lead you to force yourself to let stress go.

Next, remember that salt is just a small part of BP. SUGAR is just if not more important. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Another mineral aspect is serum magnesium. Magnesium allows smoothe muscle (that which lines your arteries) to relax. Lack of it will cause cramps in your muscles also, for more or less the same reason. Most foods are magnesium deficient nowadays because of intensive farming (Mg soil depletion). Tryy and get a test for serum Mg and consider taking supplements (but watch for side effects).

Just as (if not more)  important, and almost always ignored by GPs is Pulse Pressure (not pulse rate). this is the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure and is a measure of how much elasticity you have in your arteries. Normal pulse pressure is 30 to 50. Above this and you start to increase your chances of strokes and cardiovascular disease. Look it up. Treating pulse pressure can be seen as tricky as it is often associated with artherosclerosis (furred arteries), but tests have shown folic acid to give a reduction of about 5mmHg - not to be sniffed at. Incidentally, stroke victims are routinely prescribed folate - horse / bolt / door too late imho.

And most importantly of all: exercise. Exercise will help improve your body's angiotensin response, allowing the smooth muscle that surrounds your arteries to relax when called to do so. High impact stuff is effective in this regard. Tonnes of cardio is not necessarily good. research that as well.

 

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If your blood pressure does go out of control and you are put on medication, then you could suffer muscle wasting as in some cases (Losartan and Indapamide if taken togetherCan cause potassium deficiency, for which the only answer Dr's will give you is eat bananas! 

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4 hours ago, Sledgehead said:

First thing is first: get yourself a BP monitor and start making logs of your BP throughout the day. This will help you understand when your BP peaks and sags. Remember that it is the peaks you need to work on. Concentrating on your lows is just lying to yourself, as is fiddling your BP ahead of doctor's appointments.

Besides equiping you with a baseline to determine whether you are making progress, you will find that measuring BP regularly will in itself have a beneficial effect as you will become accutely aware of how your mood is raising your BP and this will lead you to force yourself to let stress go.

Next, remember that salt is just a small part of BP. SUGAR is just if not more important. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Another mineral aspect is serum magnesium. Magnesium allows smoothe muscle (that which lines your arteries) to relax. Lack of it will cause cramps in your muscles also, for more or less the same reason. Most foods are magnesium deficient nowadays because of intensive farming (Mg soil depletion). Tryy and get a test for serum Mg and consider taking supplements (but watch for side effects).

Just as (if not more)  important, and almost always ignored by GPs is Pulse Pressure (not pulse rate). this is the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure and is a measure of how much elasticity you have in your arteries. Normal pulse pressure is 30 to 50. Above this and you start to increase your chances of strokes and cardiovascular disease. Look it up. Treating pulse pressure can be seen as tricky as it is often associated with artherosclerosis (furred arteries), but tests have shown folic acid to give a reduction of about 5mmHg - not to be sniffed at. Incidentally, stroke victims are routinely prescribed folate - horse / bolt / door too late imho.

And most importantly of all: exercise. Exercise will help improve your body's angiotensin response, allowing the smooth muscle that surrounds your arteries to relax when called to do so. High impact stuff is effective in this regard. Tonnes of cardio is not necessarily good. research that as well.

 

Thanks for this. All duly noted.

Indeed fully aware, obviously , that too much refined sugar is not good - but not in regards of BP.   Always assumed salt is sole/major culprit. Already been corrected on that by daughter No.1 (who will be qualifying as a doctor before too long).

As for the magnesium. That was interesting too.

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50 minutes ago, Hectors House said:

If your blood pressure does go out of control and you are put on medication, then you could suffer muscle wasting as in some cases (Losartan and Indapamide if taken togetherCan cause potassium deficiency, for which the only answer Dr's will give you is eat bananas! 

Having, seemingly, inherited/shared a great deal in common with my father (e.g. eyesight/prescription at same age, general physiology, etc) it has been made me wonder IF i am now to also inherit his high blood pressure too - which is now apparently very high, despite medication.

OF course I know that, armed with knowledge he didn't have at my age plus not sharing habits he had (e.g smoking), I should be in a position to largely negate/prevent that outcome in the future?

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Sooner or later you will be introduced to the delights of Bendroflumethiazide (The water pill)

I have been on this for 12 years. My BP remains normal, so stop worrying.

No doubt, they will also try to get you to take statins.

I had over the years Simvastatin, Rosuvastatin and atorvastatin.

I suffered joint pains, eyesight anomalies and memory loss.

I stopped them about 3 years ago and feel so much better.

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19 hours ago, sexton said:

Just like butter it turns out that salt is good for you.

"an increased risk was also observed for people who ate too little salt, specifically less than 3 grams per day."

http://www.biology-bytes.com/salt/

It's well-known that you need salt, so "turns out salt is good for you" is rather misleading.

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Hobnobs etc have a lot of salt in them - you taste it as soon as you bite into one! 

Also, even a particularly sensible diet can only do so much for BP as one gets older, without suitable exercise as well.

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On ‎08‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 11:50 AM, scepticus said:

Hobnobs etc have a lot of salt in them - you taste it as soon as you bite into one! 

Also, even a particularly sensible diet can only do so much for BP as one gets older, without suitable exercise as well.

At least BP is something that is fairly curable imo...if you are lean, eat well (without salt and processed food) and exercise you will have a low BP (99%)...mine is about 110/70. Meanwhile on the cholesterol front 90% is  in your genes, matters not what you do. I do have a very high level of good cholesterol but the overall rate is not really containable except via medication ( I don't take statins). Tbf high BP is a killer, the jury is out on cholesterol.

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7 hours ago, crashmonitor said:

At least BP is something that is fairly curable imo...if you are lean, eat well (without salt and processed food) and exercise you will have a low BP (99%)...mine is about 110/70. Meanwhile on the cholesterol front 90% is  in your genes, matters not what you do. I do have a very high level of good cholesterol but the overall rate is not really containable except via medication ( I don't take statins). Tbf high BP is a killer, the jury is out on cholesterol.

Nice bit of sense well put.

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The other things that may be amenable to change are booze and ciggies. Small amounts of alcohol can drop BP a little but regular binges will definitely raise it. Fags are definitely linked to high BP (as well as to scores of other nasties too numerous to list), so ditch them if you can. In any case, cigarettes finance governments and multinational corporations, so they must be bad for you....

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