According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, heart disease is the biggest cause of death in Australia , and having high blood pressure can put an individual at a higher risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases. High cholesterol and fatty diets have long been associated with heart disease, but the most insidious factor in the mix may actually be sodium .
It is reported that 11% of the Australia population have developed high blood pressure, making it the most common cardiovascular condition. This rise is often then attributed to sodium which tends to raise blood pressure. Canned and processed foods are the biggest problems. Sodium, in one form or another, is added as a preservative or to add taste to all kinds of foods. While sodium, in moderation, is necessary for a healthy diet, too much causes water retention, which puts an added burden on the heart, increasing blood pressure and risk of stroke .
Cut Out Processed Food for a Healthy Heart
So, what can you do? Many nutritionists recommend that you shop around the perimeter of your grocery store. This is where you’ll find the fresh-baked breads, produce, and meat. This is the simplest, purest, unprocessed food that you’ll find available in the store. You may still need or want a few items from the inner part of the store, like spices and some condiments, but read the ingredients. If sodium is one of the first things on the list, put it back.
Switching to a more natural, less complex diet may seem difficult at first. You may crave salt, but this may be relieved by substituting other spices, making your still be very flavorful. Eventually, if you stick to this kind of diet and make sure that you stay well hydrated, you will find that processed foods can begin to taste overly salty and not flavorful at all.
Once your body has adjusted to your cleaner, lower-sodium, more heart-healthy diet, your blood pressure may potentially drop.
A low sodium (but not non-existent) sodium diet will also help you keep your weight in check. It will help your body use the water that you drink, rather than retaining it this can potentially lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
In addition to lowering your sodium intake, switching to a simpler, more natural diet has even more benefits. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats all have a lot more vitamins and minerals than canned and processed foods. Because those foods are often pre-cooked and packed with preservatives, they lose a lot of their nutritional value, becoming empty calories which can in turn raise your blood pressure and your chances of getting heart disease.
Maintaining a heart healthy diet like this, with few preservatives and processed food, will ensure that you live a long, happy, and healthy life. If you have any questions relating to nutrition issues or lowering your sodium intake, or wish to make an appointment contact us today! We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.