Hypertension researcher, Dr. Gregory Harshfield presented findings from his study yesterday in Prato, Italy, revealing stress triggers as much sodium retention as a small order of french fries in 30% of blacks and 10% of whites. This is a really big deal if you're concerned about your blood pressure or cardiovascular health. The findings showed that elevated blood pressure associated with stress stayed elevated for prolonged periods of time, even during sleep. Sleep should be a restorative time for our body to recover, and in theory, should be absent of stress. This rise in blood pressure during sleep is like a double whammy on our bodies. Our body can't repair if it thinks it's under attack.
The daily recommendation of sodium is 2300 mg or less. People who experience sodium retention due to stress add an additional 160 mg onto their daily load, and potentially 500 mg over the course of a day. In the study, cited by Science Daily, sodium retention also elevated systolic blood pressure (the top number) by as much as seven points. This increase in blood pressure for a prolonged period of time can tax the heart, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Harshfieldbelieves that a lower sodium diet would help significantly. Here are a few tips that can help you cut back on your sodium intake:
- INSTEAD OF roasted/salted nuts EAT raw/unsalted nuts
- INSTEAD OF sliced ham, turkey or other common lunch sandwich meats PREPARE grilled or baked chicken, salmon or lean beef ahead of time
- INSTEAD OF a bag of chips EAT hummus and fresh veggies
- INSTEAD OF ketchup SUBSTITUTE hummus or salsa
- INSTEAD OF high sodium cheese on your sandwich or salad ADD extra vegetables
- INSTEAD OF slathering your salad in salad dressing ORDER IT on the side
- INSTEAD OF boxed/flavored rices or pastas COOK plain rice or pasta instead, then add what you want on the back end
Our body needs sodium. But if you eat out often, buy packaged or processed foods or constantly crave salty foods, you're probably in the same pool as the average person of takes in 3700 mgs of sodium daily. Remember, even sweet foods contain sodium. Become familiar with the foods you eat regularly and read the nutrition facts to see how much sodium each serving contains.
Regardless of whether you’re “stressed” because you’re running from a burning building, frustrated to be sitting in gridlocked traffic or running a marathon (yes, physical stress counts) – stress is stress. The severity of stresscertainly shifts, but every time we throw our body into an emotional or physical overdrive, we go into some state of fight of flight, a protective function our nervous systems have evolved to over thousands of years. Needless to say, we abuse it – and our bodies pay the price.Over time– whether it’s because of sleepless nights dealing with small children, or constantly rushing to finish a make-or-break work project – consequences arise. We all know that relentless stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and even obesity. Hormonal imbalances are a key culprit in these instances. Taking control of the conflicts that cause stress is, of course, priority. While food alone can’t resolve stress, specific nutrients can help to combat its effects. If you're constantly Here are a few foods that can help you stress less.
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