Can we cure high blood pressure? According to the National Institute of Health, “Reports on the prevalence of high blood pressure in the elderly indicate that between 30 and 50 percent of persons over the age of 50 may have chronic hypertension.”
And the older you get, the greater the percentage gets. So, is it natural for your blood pressure to rise with age?
First, we must be clear about one of the factors that make it rise. Table salt is sodium chloride (NaCl). However, sodium is the culprit that adversely affects your blood pressure. That average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium per day, but the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends only 2,300 mg per day.
That’s only about a teaspoon. I’m sure you know many people who add a teaspoon of salt during breakfast alone!
To dig a little deeper, a Wall Street Journal article says, according to the CDC, that of all the sodium intake of the average American, 75% of it comes from dining out and processed foods. Only 5% comes from salt added during cooking and another 6% from salt added at the dinner table.
Those numbers make it clear that the main conduits for sodium intake are processed food and restaurants. Sodium additives are used as preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, gelling and thickening agents, flavor enhancers, sweeteners and coloring agents. Any type of food that is mass-produced and packaged—basically food products with nutrition labels on them—use those additives. Essentially, without those sodium additives, there would be no processed food industry.
That said, the key to lowering your sodium intake and high blood pressure is to replace processed food with fresh produce. It’s a solution that we don’t hear enough of in the media.
That would mean “attacking” the processed food industry, which is a line that government agencies will not cross. You will hear phrases like, “reduce your sodium intake,” but you’ll never hear, “stop eating Dunkin’ Donuts and Lays Potato Chips because they’re loaded with sodium.” Specific food manufacturers and products will never be called out, only specific nutrients like sodium, without giving you clear directives regarding what to replace processed food with.
If you have high blood pressure focus on consuming more fresh produce that you prepare at home. That way you can control the amount of sodium you consume. The recommendations for sodium intake don’t limit how much you get from fresh produce, only from processed foods and what you add during food preparation at home.
By simply changing your diet you can probably keep your blood pressure in check.