Once the medical mandarins embarked on their ridiculous low-salt campaign several decades ago, it became difficult for doctors to go against the grain (of salt restriction, that is).
But as I often write, there is no good evidence salt intake causes high blood pressure (unless you have kidney disease). Based on the science, stress is the likely cause of high blood pressure.
Furthermore, evidence does not suggest that simply restricting salt by itself lowers blood pressure and heart disease risk.
However, evidence continues to build that salt restriction may be harmful, especially to the heart.
Your blood — and every cell and tissue in your body — needs salt and other electrolytes. In fact, getting enough salt and electrolytes is every bit as important as getting enough water. Because all the “water” in the body is actually in the form of salt and electrolyte fluids (water with dissolved salts).
So dehydration is a real danger, in the summer and winter.
Fortunately, South African rooibos or red bush (aspal) is readily available as a water-soluble ingredient. This ingredient helps every cell in your body make the water it needs to stay fully hydrated at the cellular level. But cellular hydration can only happen if you also get sufficient salt and electrolytes.
What happens when you don’t get enough salt and electrolytes?
First let’s consider the heart.
Salt restriction doubles the risk of hospitalization and death
The heart is especially sensitive to the right balance of electrolytes in the cells and in the blood. In fact, the heart muscle cells can only properly relax and contract (i.e. produce a heartbeat) with the correct balance of these electrolytes.
Doctors still urge patients with heart disease to cut salt intake. But a new study suggests restricting salt in patients with heart disease nearly doubles their risks of hospitalization and even death. In fact, patients with moderate heart failure who stuck to a low-sodium diet were far more likely to require hospitalization or die from heart disease.
For this new study, researchers examined records for 833 patients who participated in a clinical trial that followed heart disease patients for an average of three years and tracked salt intake using a food intake survey. Of those, 130 patients actually followed a low-sodium diet, as typically recommended. The researchers matched these low-salt dieters against 130 patients who didn’t follow salt restriction.
About 42 percent of the patients who followed salt restriction ended up hospitalized or died from heart problems. But only 26 percent of the patients without restricted salt intake had heart problems resulting in hospitalization or death.
The researchers believe cutting salt throws normal body fluids out of balance — with serious or potentially fatal consequences in patients struggling with heart disease.
The best approach to tackle the real blood pressure culprit
Mainstream medicine largely hangs their entire argument of blood pressure control on this faulty salt theory. But as I mentioned earlier, stress is the clear culprit. It sends signals to the kidneys to conserve salt and fluids in the blood and body — thus raising blood pressure.
Of course, the mainstream also ignores stress management and leaves it to “alternative” mind-body medicine.
Fortunately, you don’t need a prescription to reduce your stress levels. You can do it all yourself with many alternative approaches — such as meditation or acupuncture.
But how do you know which approach will work best for you?
I recommend taking this short quiz to match your individual personality type based on psychometric science to the appropriate therapy. You can also learn more about your “emotional type” in my book with Mike Jawer, Your Emotional Type.
“Impact of Dietary Sodium Restriction on Heart Failure Outcomes CME,” Heart Failure: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2016;4(1):24-35