Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: Cut salt to help with hypertension

Sometimes it feels like Health Canada wants to ensure that everybody has a chronic disease.

Not only can you have prediabetes, but also prehypertension. Prehypertension is a blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 mmHg. The hope is that by giving it a fancy name, you will be motivated to do something about it.

Hypertension is responsible for up to 50 per cent of deaths due to heart disease and stroke and is the leading cause of kidney disease. In 2014, Canadians spent $2 billion on blood pressure medications. But there may be another way.

Our high-salt diets are thought to cause about a third of all hypertension. Other risk factors include obesity, low potassium intake (low fruit and vegetable intake), lack of exercise and excessive alcohol intake.

A low-sodium diet is more than not adding salt to your food during cooking or at the table. It is in almost every single packaged and processed food. The average Canadian consumes 3,400 mg of sodium, more than double the recommended 1,500 mg/day.

The most you can consume without causing harm to your body is about 2,300 mg/day. To understand how easy it is to exceed the guidelines, here are some examples:

Tim Hortons’ chili and bun = 1,600 mg of sodium (if you drink a hot chocolate, add another 320 mg)

A 6” Subway Melt = 1,100 mg sodium

McDonlad’s Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad = 1,070 mg sodium

Unfortunately, if you want to meet sodium guidelines, you cannot eat out regularly.

An ideal sodium diet means cooking instead of reheating packaged and processed foods. It means eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and going easy on added sauces and dressings. Essentially, it means that your diet is not very “fun.”

Nutrition labels are a great way to evaluate the salt content of foods. A good rule of thumb is that if the Percentage Daily Value is less than five per cent, it is considered “low” in sodium, but if it is above 15 per cent, it is “high” sodium, and should be eaten in smaller quantities or less often.

Luckily for us, taste buds are adaptable, and once you are used to a low sodium diet, salty foods will not taste good.

-Serena Cener is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

Just Posted

$224.5 million announced for Highway 1 bridge replacement in Sicamous

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says bridge option will be announced next month

CSRD wants immediate Provincial action to fund Newsome Creek study

Erosion along the creek is causing hazardous situation for residents

The proportional representation debate continues as the deadline nears

Sean Graham creator of the Dual Member Proportional system says it would be better for Revelstoke

Weekend weather update: Crisp and sunny

This weekend will see lots of sunshine and below season temperatures for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Okanagan volunteers reflect on building classrooms in Nepal

Through the charity Her International, the volunteer group built four classrooms

Accident north of Vernon involves SUV and semi truck

Minor delays reported in Highway 97 crash

Ontario driver rolls car in Okanagan

Crash near Vernon follows reports of erratic driving

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Most Read