S asked if I had to choose one food to eliminate or minimize in order to lessen the risk of high blood pressure, what would it be?
I have an answer, S, but it's not just one food, more like a range of food - FAST FOOD.
Most everyone knows fast food is not healthy for us - it's high in calories and high in fat content. Yes, it can taste good, but "treating" yourself to fast food really isn't a treat since it's so bad for you.
Now comes a short study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine that analyzed sodium (salt) content of meals served at typical fast food restaurants.
The results are scary...
First, some background. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day (no more than one TEASPOON of salt a day TOTAL). Not very much, right?
Now consider that anyone who is African American, over age 45 years, or who has high blood pressure is recommended to keep sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg per day (a little more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day TOTAL) - yowzer... Actually, this level of salt intake is probably best for almost all of us regardless of race or age.
Why go through these numbers? Because in this study the AVERAGE sodium content of a single fast food meal was 1,751 mg - in other words, a single fast food meal (not including side items) supplies more than the recommended limits on daily intake of salt.
The study showed that only 1 out of 36 possible fast food meals contained less than 600 mg of sodium, while a full 20% of meal options contained over 2,300 mg of sodium!
And the results didn't even take into account adding salt to meals.
There are many ways to help prevent and if necessary treat high blood pressure, but the single best way to start, in my opinion, is to limit your intake of fast food (and work on eliminating fast food from your diet altogether).
Fast food may be fast but it is clearly not good for us.
I hope this helps, S.
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