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Reducing Sodium to Avoid High Blood Pressure

Reducing Sodium to Avoid High Blood Pressure

Veronica Arreola, of Viva La Feminista, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today.

This December I’ll be 42. That puts me at t-minus five years until I am as old as my mom was when she died. FIVE YEARS. No one does know how long, but most of us do want to live to be little old ladies and men. One thing I am trying to get a hold of is my health. My mom died of diabetes and my dad, thankfully still with us, is battling high blood pressure and heart disease. So yeah, I have a lot of work cut out for me.

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In terms of the high blood pressure, I know that increased sodium in one’s diet is the major cause of that. But I had forgotten WHY this is such a bad thing to do to one’s body. The American Heart Association states:

When there’s extra sodium in your bloodstream, it pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total amount (volume) of blood inside your blood vessels. With more blood flowing through your blood vessels, blood pressure increases. It’s like turning up the water supply to a garden hose — the pressure in the hose increases as more water is blasted through it. Over time, high blood pressure may overstretch or injure the blood vessel walls and speed the build-up of gunky plaque that can block blood flow. The added pressure also tires out the heart by forcing it to work harder to pump blood through the body.

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YIKES!

But – I think to myself - I’m ok… I rarely put salt on my food (outside of the occasional bag of movie theater popcorn, which has a ton of salt and faux butter), right?

Wrong!

While an independent survey conducted by the American Heart Association in 2013 and 2016 showed that over the past year, nearly half of Americans have tried to reduce sodium and/or sugar, most of the sodium we get from our diet is in our food before it even reaches our plates! We’re doomed, right?

Wrong again!

The American Heart Association has a list of Salty Six foods that one should avoid to really reduce the level of sodium intake. Hooray!

NOOO!!!

That’s basically my diet right there. OK, if my dad gave up pork, one of his favorite foods, I can cut back (or watch the label) on all of these, right? At least chocolate isn’t on this list!

In order to kick start this lifestyle turnaround I so desperately need, I am joining the #GoRedGetFit “Less Salt, More Sweat” Challenge. This means my goal is to get 30 minutes of physical activity, at least five days a week and limit sodium consumption to 1,500 milligrams per day. Which will mean I’m going to really need their recipe collection!

I know I’ve let the stress of life get the best of me over the past few years. I really want to regain control through lifestyle changes and not gimmicks. I want to be healthier. And I think that taking the #GoRedGetFit challenge will help me learn some good habits, #breakupwithsalt, and expand our meal menu at home. 

Are you up to join the challenge?

 

Veronica Arreola, of Viva La Feminista, is joining the Sodium Blog as a Guest Blogger today. You can connect with Veronica on Twitter at @veronicaeye or via the Viva La Feminista Facebook page.

 

The views,opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them. The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

 


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