Hello My Friends
Welcome To The Vitality Project!
As a professional health coach concerned with the health and well-being of my clients it is my intention to improve your well-being and longevity by using the principles of nutrition, fitness, diet, lifestyle dynamics, and anti-aging medicine.
We have all been told to reduce the intake of sodium in our diet to help control or prevent hypertension. As most of you know, high blood pressure is a common disorder which can greatly increase your risk of heart attack, kidney disease, blindness and stroke.
There is no doubt that excess sodium in our diet can increase blood pressure in people who are sensitive to sodium. Do you know why? Well increasing the concentration of sodium in the blood has a tendency to keep more water inside your tissues which increases the blood volume. When your blood volume increases, so does the pressure exerted upon the artery wall every time your heart beats. In most people, the amount of excess sodium is removed by the kidneys, but sometimes this process does not function as well and high blood pressure results.
So, should you only worry about extra sodium from the foods you eat as the only culprit responsible for your high blood pressure? In my opinion, yes it’s important to be mindful of the sodium content of frozen, prepared, snack, take-out and processed foods because the majority of sodium we eat is added into the food before we heat it up or buy it. It may also be wise to reduce the intake of these foods and increase the intake of high-potassium foods like fruits and vegetables which can increase the level of potassium to sodium ratio in your body.
Here are some other foods to be mindful of if you would like to decrease your blood pressure.
Refined carbohydrates like; breads, crackers, bagels and pasta products that are made from white flower can raise blood sugar and insulin levels and this process leads to high blood pressure. Consuming foods high in simple sugars like cereals, candy, baked-goods, fruit drinks, deserts and soda can also have the same effects upon your body because these foods rapidly increase blood sugar. When this occurs, there is a characteristic and prolonged insulin spike which can also influence the degree of inflammation inside your body. The chemicals that signal the inflammation cascade also can increase blood pressure and keep it elevated if insulin resistance develops.
Some other foods to be mindful of are saturated fat and trans fat. The consumption of too much saturated fat found in foods like butter, cream, red-meat, ground pork, beef and lard often leads to the production of a type of fatty acid called arachidonic acid. This fat causes the levels of inflammation inside your body to increase which can elevate blood pressure.
Trans fats typically found in fried foods, frozen entrees and snack foods can also greatly negatively affect our artery linings from the inside leading to increases in blood pressure. Trans fats are particularly toxic to the inner linings of our arteries and these altered fatty molecules can increase blood pressure by preventing the secretion of an enzyme called nitric oxide which keeps our arteries relaxed and blood pressure under control.
Recently, the US placed a complete ban upon the addition or use of Trans fat in all food items. all other countries should also do the same.
My advice to also be mindful of the other foods you regularly consume and not just the amount of salt that you eat from day to day.
Remember….your quality of life is the measurement of successful living regardless of your age.
Dr. Kevin. J. McLaughlin
Clinical Director: The Vitality Project