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Old 07-27-2005, 11:45 AM   #1
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Salt & Hypertension

Today's paper had an article stating nutritionists had determined we consume too much salt, which can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure). It recommended "not more than a teaspoonful per day".


For starters, a few years ago the "experts" determined that salt had little effect on hypertension.

Now, how would one determine whether the amount of salt consumed constituted a "teaspoonful"? I suppose one could shake the salt from a shaker and figure out how many shakes equalled a teasponnful. But if you change shakers, then what? And how about the salt in cooked foods? Bacon or ham, for example?

If one follows the recommendations of TV chefs, salt is added, frequently multiple times, to prepared dishes. How much is then included in a single serving?

Gosh, this really worries me!

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Old 07-27-2005, 11:54 AM   #2
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I stopped adding salt years before I got high blood pressure, but I know I get too much salt in foods and snacks I eat. I've heard so many things saying it is bad/not bad for hypertension that it does get confusing. Since moving to South Carolina though, I have developed kidney stones, and salt is definitely bad for them, so I have been trying to find ways to cut more salt out (I say this as I am eating salsa and chips. Oh brother! They don't have as much salt as most tortilla chips though!)

Barbara
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Old 07-27-2005, 12:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara L
I stopped adding salt years before I got high blood pressure, but I know I get too much salt in foods and snacks I eat. I've heard so many things saying it is bad/not bad for hypertension that it does get confusing. Since moving to South Carolina though, I have developed kidney stones, and salt is definitely bad for them, so I have been trying to find ways to cut more salt out (I say this as I am eating salsa and chips. Oh brother! They don't have as much salt as most tortilla chips though!)

Barbara
Barb, they do make a tortilla chip without salt, I buy it for my sister whenever we have a party that includes chips and salsa, she says that you don't miss the salt when you have a good salsa..I myself, have b/p problems and just do not eat chips but I'd have a hard time giving up all salt!!!
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Old 07-28-2005, 10:33 PM   #4
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My doctor told me that only about 5% of the population has salt sensitivity that causes hypertension. Most hypertension (like cholesterol levels) is hereditary.
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Old 07-28-2005, 11:48 PM   #5
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Kadesma,

Thanks for the information. I've never seen them around here, but then they LOVE their salt here! I have fallen in love with the Tostitos Gold chips. They are thicker and (at least seem to) have less salt than the others. I make my own sometimes too.

As far as salt and hypertension, I don't know. I do know that my ankles swell when I have too much salt, and that I am not supposed to have salt with my kidney stones. And I know that it is very hard to find anything that isn't full of salt anymore.

Barbara
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Old 07-29-2005, 12:45 AM   #6
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Welcom Barb,

I'm not sure about HTN either, but, I am trying to be careful, a lot of mine is heredity and also from diabetes..So, I feel I'd rather be cautious then have a stroke or heart attack.
I want to look into those chips you mentioned they sound wonderful...I do like to make baked tortilla chips myself..They taste so much fresher.
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Old 07-29-2005, 02:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kadesma
I'd rather be cautious then have a stroke or heart attack.
I don't blame you!
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I want to look into those chips you mentioned they sound wonderful
Let me know how you like them.

Barbara
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Old 07-29-2005, 03:28 AM   #8
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The 5-cent tour:

The body needs salt to function ... without it your heart will not work (not even going to start into the sodium pump theory). The normal salt level in the human body is about 0.9%. When you go to the doctor and he orders a blood test to check your "electrolytes" - he's checking your sodium and potassium levels - both are salts but different.

The body tries to regulate the salt level in the blood to keep that balance ... by excreeting excess salt and/or by retaining water to dilute the salt when it can't excreet it. Salt is normally eliminated from the body either by perspiration or via the kidneys.

When there is a malfunction in a system, like the kidneys, that can't elimiate the salt ... the body retains water to neutralize it ... this increasing the fluid in the body ... which increases the amount of fluid in the veins/arteries .... the more fluid the higher the blood pressure. People often notice swelling in the ankles and legs with water retention due to gravity and the pressure available in the legs to pump the fluid back up into the circulatory system - this is "pooling" (edema).

The recomended daily salt intake is about 2400 mg ... that's about 1 teaspoon table salt - or 1.25 teaspoons Kosher salt. So, oldcoot - that complicates the changing the "salt-shaker" problem.

Personally - I don't have to worry about my blood pressure (knock on wood) at this time. But, I do tend to go light on the salt most of the time. There are times when I splurge ... nachos HAVE to have lots of salt ... but I also drink copious amounts of water with them to flush the salt out of my system - and I only splurge on them a couple of times a year .... the World Series and Super Bowl Sunday.

For those who want to reduce their salt intake ... Salt is a preservative - so canned foods will be higher in salt than fresh or frozen foods. Also - watch out for the salt "substitutes" ... they are generally potassium chloride - which is a potassium salt instead of a soduim salt - same thing only different.
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Old 07-29-2005, 08:05 AM   #9
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Barb, I had a kidney stone a long time ago, here in Charleston - the doc told me SC is a 'breeding ground' for kidney stones; they don't know why, but the incidence of kidney stones in SC is higher than in most of the country! Just so you won't feel alone!


Re salt and hypertension, I'm just not sure how I feel about it; on a personal note, I don't restrict salt at all, in fact I"m a salt freak - and my BP is always around 120/70; no swollen ankles or any other symptoms.

The balance of salt and potassium in our bodies is a very delicate one; if one or the other gets off kilter, it can cause mental confusion, and even seizures. I sometimes wonder about the severe restriction of salt and its other effects on the body.

I guess my philosophy in this, as with most other medical mandates, is 'all things in moderation, even moderation'!
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