Real Health. Real Simple .
Kidneys and Salt!
by Samuel Snyder, D. O.
AnestaMed, Inc. Real Health. Real Simple. from AnestaWeb
AnestaMed does not endorse any specific service, product or treatment.
About The Author
Dr. Samuel Snyder is Associate Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Nephrology, and the American College of Osteopathic Internists. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Nephrology. He writes scientific and popular articles and lectures widely on a wide range of medical subjects.
Real Health. Real Simple .
alt is a white crystalline substance composed of equal parts of sodium and chlorine (in its chemical form chloride). We all use it daily, we all take it for granted on the tables in every kitchen and dining room and restaurant.
Salt has had a role in our culture for many centuries. Unknown territories have been explored in search of it, and wars have been fought over it. Today, almost all food is treated with salt before we eat it—just about anything that comes in a package, or anything you eat in a restaurant has more salt than you need before you even touch it. The only things spared this are foods that are truly fresh. Nowadays, you can get exotic salts from faraway places that might have special tastes; some people are becoming salt snobs, just as there are coffee and wine connoisseurs.
But in the last several decades, we have learned that despite its whiteness, there is a dark side to salt. Salt is clearly related to high blood pressure for about half of the Americans who have high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure is of course one of the most important and powerful risk factors for developing hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
Most Americans use too much salt in their diet, and many of us are not even aware of it. We are not very good at telling which people with high blood pressure are placing themselves at increased risk by eating too much salt, and which are safe to use salt. There is no such thing as not enough salt, because the foods we eat in their natural state contain enough sodium and chloride for all of our bodies needs. So the safest thing is to reduce the amount of salt in our diet.
About 55 to 60 million Americans have high blood pressure. The risk of developing high blood pressure for those over age 50 is extremely high. And because of blood pressure’s importance as a risk factor for heart disease, we should make extra efforts to reduce salt intake.
The ways to do this are easy. First, we should take all the salt shakers off our tables. In our cooking, we have to get used to the idea that we do not need to add salt to our food while we cook. There are many other ways to enhance flavor, including a variety of peppers, garlic, onion, and gardens of delicious fresh herbs. More than anything else, it is a matter of opening ourselves up and accustoming to new tastes.
Perhaps the most important part of this is the salt that is added to packaged, prepared foods. As consumers, we need to become intelligent and informed label readers, and search for those foods that have no added salt. In addition, we have to use our clout as purchasers to convince manufacturers to use less salt in the production of foods. The flavor will still be there. In fact, we will learn to enjoy new flavors.
You might not believe it yet, but you can enjoy food just as well without salt, and you can live a healthier life. It just takes a little effort and education.
Created by Christopher Green R.N. B.A.