the real cost of upsizing
Forget AIDS, cancer, and famine for a moment, because
now increased blood pressure is the most common cause
of death in the world! Even if you don’t have it by middle
age, the Framingham study, ongoing for the last 50 years
in Framingham, Massachusetts, tells us you have a 90 per
cent risk of getting hypertension before you die.
sodium is the culprit
There are several reasons why we
develop high blood pressure. But
sodium (one component of salt) is
considered the key culprit. Members
of salt-free tribal societies around
the world have almost a zero risk
of dying from high blood pressure.
Chimpanzees eating nothing but fruit
and vegetables develop high blood
pressure when salt is added, and only
when this occurs.
While blood pressure rises faster in
some people and slower in others, it
still rises, especially as you consume
more sodium. The good news is that
you can prevent this rise and even
manage hypertension without medication
by controlling your salt intake.
but I don’t use salt!
Many people who don’t add salt to
their cooking or use a salt shaker
believe they are following a low-salt
diet, but research shows that up to 80
percent of the sodium you eat comes
hidden in processed foods, including
common staples such as bread,
cheese, and cereals.
Cutting down on salt is healthy for the
whole family. Halving the amount of
salt children eat results in an almost
immediate fall in their blood pressure
and lessens the subsequent rise in
their blood pressure with age.
Reducing sodium intake is particularly
important if you are overweight, an
older person, or already have high
hints for a low-sodium diet
- Eat mostly fresh foods, and eat them
without any added salt.
- Buy only those processed foods that
contain less than 120 mg sodium per
100 g of product. Check food labels.
- Look for “Low Sodium,” “Low Salt,” or
“No Added Salt.” “Reduced Salt” products
are required to contain only 25
percent less sodium, so the final level
may still be very high.
Nutritionist Sue Radd is the award-winning author of The Breakfast
Book and co-author of Eat To Live, internationally acclaimed for
showing how savvy eating can combat cancer and heart disease and
improve well-being. See the latest at http://www.sueradd.com.