Hypertension and Salt (Sodium)

Did you know that children can have high blood pressure? Whether an older child or an adult, some of the contributing factors for heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure, lack of regular exercise, being overweight or obese and poor dietary intake including overuse of salt and salt-laden foods/snacks. Unbelievably, about 9 in 10 American children [and adults] eat more salt than recommended which can lead to increased blood pressure. (https://tinyurl.com/ydd4eqkd)      Experts have stated that heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other medical cause. Just for clarification, these stats pertain to yearly values. In respect to the COVID-19 death rate, more than 13,000 Americans died during the second week in April from COVID-19, exceeding the past weekly averages for other common causes of death like heart disease and cancer.” (https://tinyurl.com/yc64kwg3)
    Oh my goodness. Wait just a minute, please don’t toss out your salt shakers or swear off salt! Our bodies do need a certain amount of salt/sodium to help regulate our body fluids, nerve impulses and influence how our muscles contract and relax. Taking steps to maintain a healthy sodium intake prescribed for your age and stage of health takes patience and willingness to change old habits. For most people, healthcare providers typically endorse a sodium intake of less than 2300mg per day.  Individuals including older adults, African Americans and those with medical conditions like chronic kidney disease, diabetes or metabolic syndrome means they tend to be much more sensitive to the effects of salt/sodium in their diets than most people. This group of people has a recommended salt intake of about 1500mg per day. (https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm)
     According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 77% of the salt Americans consume comes from restaurant and processed foods and most people eat double or greater amount of sodium than recommended.  Foods considered to have undesirable amounts of sodium are processed meats like luncheon meats, sausages, frozen breaded meats like burritos, tacos, salted nuts, chip snacks, etc. (https://tinyurl.com/yaydskae)
    So, what does 2300mg look like when ordering an average fast food meal? The typical salt load for a double cheeseburger with medium french fries is about 1280mg of sodium. Is it healthier to eat 12 chicken nuggets with medium french fries? Uhmmmm, let’s see, that’s about 1690mg of sodium for one meal! Keeping your sodium in range means learning how to read labels and making the healthiest choice possible when dining out! Remember, hidden salts, sugars and fats can be found in condiments, gravies, sauces and soups, so take it easy when indulging yourself! (https://fastfoodnutrition.org/)
The good news is that there are lifestyle choices you can make NOW like reducing one’s weight and stress level while improving one’s dietary intake and exercise pattern and limiting overuse of salt/sodium.

ESV Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:31- So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

My Prayer. Dear Lord, grant us strength to flee from any food temptations and desires that causes harm to these frail earth suits. Fill us with your spirit and bless us with your grace, power and a willingness to make wise choices in nutrition, exercise and relationships to gain health. Give us hearts of gratitude and thankfulness and a desire to maintain healthy boundaries to do your will for our lives. Help us to become godly examples in a world so full of selfishness, self-indulgence and darkness. Bless us with your peace, joy & mercy. Amen!