SALT & HYPERTENSION
Now, in continuation to my previous article about hypertension,the next common question is about DIET/LIFE STYLE IN HYPERTENSION.
As we all know the first thing that is advised for a patient,when diagnosed as HTN/Pre-HTN is
"LOW SALT DIET","KEEP AWAY FROM STRESS"
- But how do you measure& cut down on the salt?
- What is the daily requirement of salt?
- What has salt got to do with HTN control?
It is mainly the amount of Na++(sodium) in the salt which matters, which has a role with control of HTN.
WHAT DOES Na++ DO?
Na++ is one of the main electrolyte in ion transport that happens in the cells of the body, which leads to
- Increased contractile capacity of blood vessel wall
- also to some extent stimulate growth of smooth muscle cell, thereby increasing vessel wall thickness, in turn the resistance offered by the vessel.
Daily recommended dose of salt is 5gms/day.
That is almost equal to LEVEL TEASPOON of salt.
Amount of salt in our diet!! How do we measure the salt we consume??
- It is mainly the unseen/HIDDEN salt that is present in our daily diet habits!
- What is this unseen/HIDDEN salt-salt present in our snacks,pickles,chutneys,sauces(ex:soya sauces)ketchups,chips,salted biscuits,cheese,salted butter.
- Also most of the processed/packaged food also have hidden extra amount of salt,because salt is added as a preservative.
- but most food lables only report sodium as grams per 100grams of food.
- To convert to salt multiply by 2.5 i.e. 1gm of sodium per 100 gms of food is almost equivalent to the saltiness of seawater!
How to control on salt intake?
- First & foremost thing is to avoid packaged & processed food.
- Only choose food items with no more than 0.3gms of sodium per 100gms of food
- Do not add salt to cooking,instead add only at the table,so that you'll have better control of your salt intake.
- Alternative is ,suppose in a family of 4 members the daily recommended salt intake is 3.5 level TSP per day,so that 0.5 gms will be given as a margin for hidden salt intake.
- Instead of salt one can add pepper,garlic,herbs(mint/oregano/parsley/coriander),Lemon as flavoring agents.
Other dietary/lifestyle changes:
Salt intake is one of the main dietary changes advised in hypertension.
Other dietary changes include-
- Diet rich in Whole grains, fruits & vegetables (5 servings per day),
- Low fat dairy products & decrease on saturated fat & cholesterol
This can lower BP by upto 14mm Hg
For more information one ca visit these websites-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974,http://foodpyramidindia.org/
- Fruits & vegetables-1 serving =1cup of cut fruits/vegetables (or) 80-100 gms, of locally available fruits & vegetables per day i.e. 450-500 gms each day.
But in India per capita consumption actual national average is 140GMS/DAY!!!
Moderation in alcohol consumption-
- Men <14 units per week
- Women <7 units per week(ASH guidelines)
One alcohol unit is measured as 10ml or 8gm of pure alcohol.This equals one 25ml single measure of whisky(ABV* 40%), or a third of a pint of beer(ABV* 5-6%) or half a standard glass of red wine i.e 175ml (ABV*12%)
*ABV=Alcohol By Volume
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & STRESS MANAGEMENT:
- Atleast 30-60 min of moderate physical activity,min of 5days a week can lower blood pressure by 4-9mm Hg
- Make sure you take stairs in you work place rather than lift,walk to the market,walk with your children to their school or activity center/tutions.
- Get involved in group activities:Dance /cook with friends & family, so that every one will have quality time together as well as a stress buster.
In practical,all the above said things looks simple & easy,BUT the very important aspect is ADOPTION & MAINTENANCE of life style modifications,where most of us fail!
Try & adhere to the changes one at a time.
I would call it as INVESTING ON HEALTH!!
We see people chasing behind possessions & positions,often forget on their health-at the end of it all you'll just be spending all your possessions on your illness!
Now its your choice to draw a line b/w health & wealth!