Asking For No Salt

June 17th, 2010

When you go to the doctor’s office, one of the first things they do is make you wait in the lobby and then a nurse will bring you back to check out a couple of different things. Usually the nurse will check your height and then your weight.

The nurse will then bring you back to a private room where he or she will check your temperature and your blood pressure. They ramble off some numbers that you are not sure what they mean and if they are good or bad.

The first number that they tell you is called the systolic blood pressure. You want this number to be in between 90 and 120. Keeping it within this range means that you at least somewhat healthy and do not have hypertension.

Hypertension is a chronic medical disease that means the blood pressure in your arteries is too high.  About 90% of these cases are called primary hypertension because there is no medical cause that can be found.

The remaining 10% or so of these cases are called secondary hypertension which is caused by other medical conditions that affect the kidneys, heart, endocrine system, or arteries.  Having hypertension consistently will lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other heart failures.

Obviously these kinds of medical conditions will have a negative impact on your overall health and well being as they can lead to death and shorten your life expectancy. Keeping track of your blood pressure will help you figure out when you need to lower it so that you can prolong your years here on earth.

So what are some ways that you can lower your systolic blood pressure or the “number on top”? There are several ways that you can accomplish this by taking some very easy steps.

The first thing you can do is to lower your sodium intake. Most commonly you find sodium in the salt that you add to the foods you eat.

A lot of times, salt is already added to food to help preserve the product. So avoid adding any “extra” salt that you do not really need.

It is really hard when you go out to eat and the waiter sets a bowl of tortilla chips in front of you that do not have enough salt to make them more flavorful. Instead of sprinkling on that excess salt, dip it into the salsa to give them a good taste.

You can find low sodium food products that taste just as well as the normal product. There are also many soups and other kinds of snacks that have no salt added.

These foods may taste a little bit more bland, but most of the time you cannot tell the difference. And you will not feel as guilty when you eat them.

If you are the primary care giver in your home and are the one who gets to go grocery shopping, then make these healthier choices so that they affect your whole family. Do no continue to buy everyone else those salty chips while you get the low sodium kind.

Encourage the rest of your family to join with you in your quest for a healthier life and have them eat the same food that you do. This will help them start healthy habits when they are young and hopefully this will teach them how they should be eating for the rest of their lives.

Your children grow up watching you and what you eat. Make sure you are putting food down on the table that will help their little bodies grow strong and not shorten their life.

Like with the tortilla chips and salsa, find other dips, spices, and sauces that are low in sodium when cooking. The more you cook without salt, or at least reduced salt, the less you will notice its absence from the food and the less you miss it.

One last tip is to cook from scratch as much as you are able because processed foods already have a lot of salt in them to help preserve them. It may take a little bit more time, but eventually it will help add more years to your life in the end.

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