Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salt Sensitivity and Plant Based Diets

So I learned while watching a minute or two of The Revolution the other day that pregnancy is essentially a stress test on your heart.  If you had pre-eclampsia during pregnancy it's like failing a stress test.  It's a stress test I failed 3 times.  Yikes!

I believe the root cause of all of the blood pressure issue is salt sensitivity.  I've been reading more and more about plant based diets.  The reason why these diets are better for people like me is that a vegetarian diet means you have a higher potassium to sodium diet ratio.  Even at similar salt intake levels, plant based eaters tend to have less heart disease because they have all the potassium to counteract the sodium.  I've been doing my homework and I've read studies where people even of normal blood pressure who are salt sensitive are much more likely to die of heart disease.  So, even if I get I my blood pressure under control I'm more likely to be at risk for heart disease and I should always pay attention to my salt... always (as if my mother's premature death isn't enough reason to.)

I should also not go over the recommended 2,300 mg a day if not limit it to below 1,500.  That's a very hard thing to do these days, especially if you ever want to go out to eat.  We live in a salt filled world here in the U.S.A.  Everyone keeps telling me they don't put salt in anything, but only 10% of the average american's salt intake is from the table.  It comes from cheese, processed junk, restaurant food, bread, baked goods, canned foods, etc.   The average American eats 3,300 mg a day, well over the recommended allowance!

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