I’ve often talked about the government’s misguided war on salt. They say it causes heart disease. And that most people should keep levels below 2,300 milligrams per day. But if you’re over 51 years, they say you should further limit it to 1,500 mg per day. And the same goes if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
But a new report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) blasted these government-concocted recommendations with some real science. After reviewing all the current research, an expert IOM panel found there’s no good evidence to suggest that restricting salt (below 2,300 mg) benefits most people.
Plus, the panel found that restricting salt too much might even be dangerous.
My colleague from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Brian Strom, chaired the panel. I have always known Dr. Strom to put science first, like other faculty members at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Strom said, “lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person’s risk of some health problems,” including heart ailments.
In my very first Daily Dispatch last summer, I told you about the government’s ridiculous and unfounded salt recommendations.
You see, 40 years ago, President Nixon launched the “War on Cancer.” As a result, the National Cancer Institute hit the budget jackpot for decades to come. And many desk-jockey doctors made their careers waging the unsuccessful war against cancer.
But the desk-set doctors at the National Heart Lung & Blood Institute didn’t want to be left behind. So, they launched their own unsuccessful war. This time against high blood pressure. And they decided salt was the culprit.
Now, here’s the problem…
No real evidence for this “salt hypothesis” ever existed. Over the years, studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, and reviews conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among other credible sources, pointed this out.
But these scientific facts didn’t stop the government from continually revising the recommended levels of salt ever downward. Even when it became obvious that their strategy didn’t work. Eventually, they pushed salt recommendations down so low, less than 0.01% of the U.S. population can now follow them. And now it turns out, we should be thankful that most people couldn’t ever achieve these ridiculously low levels.
As I’ve said before, high blood pressure is a serious issue. And keeping it under control has the most direct and essential connection to cutting heart disease.
But salt isn’t the cause of high blood pressure.
So the management of blood pressure and heart disease should focus on stress reduction and management.
But first, the government has to recognize the role stress plays in our lives. (Ironically, for many people in the U.S. today, the government itself has become the major cause of stress.)
Fortunately, many effective “mind-body” techniques can help your reduce stress. And help lower your blood pressure.
In the 1970s, my colleague Herb Benson, at Harvard University, first coined the term “relaxation response.” Today, he continues to study the effects that relaxation has …even on your genes. He has discovered that stress reduction and relaxation influences the activity of your genes. And it has at least four major positive influences on your heart and your health at the cellular level.
If you have high blood pressure, consider adding a mind-body relaxation technique to your daily activities. Yoga, biofeedback, guided imagery, and meditation can all help.
How do you know which one will work best for you?
Just take this short on-line quiz. This will determine your “Emotional Type.” Then, you will also learn which mind-body techniques work best for your type.
High blood pressure is a clear and present danger for your heart and your health. In addition, when it comes to lowering your blood pressure, you need to use something potent that works quickly and effectively. Subscribers to my newsletter Insiders’ Cures can learn about the ONE prescription I always recommend for high blood pressure. If you haven’t yet become a subscriber, you can get started here.