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High Blood Pressure, by Jordan Rubin

Jordan Rubin

Throughout history, salt has always been a precious commodity. Here are some of the ways:

• Salt was once traded for gold—with some ancient peoples actually using coins of salt and cakes of salt as currency.

• Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in salt and “sal” is the Latin word for salt and the basis of the term “salary.”

• During baptism rituals, Romans would often place a few grains of salt on the baptized child’s tongue.

• In the Bible disciples were called "the salt of the earth."

In Matthew 5:13 Jesus states, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” It is known that salt is a preservative, and quite possibly, Jesus was referring to his disciples as having a preserving factor to the faith—and that if they lost their preserving ways, then they would not be good for anything, especially for preserving the faith. In this context, being salty was a good thing!

As far as a preservative for food…salt is effective because it restricts bacterial growth in many foods by lowering the amount of "free" water molecules in them. Bacteria need moisture in order to thrive and they cannot grow well in foods that contain salt.

There is a downside to being too salty, though, as eating too much salt (a high sodium intake) can lead to high blood pressure. But what is blood pressure and how do you maintain a healthy blood pressure?

We all have blood pressure; it is impossible to sustain life without it, since our bodies require blood circulating in order for our vital organs to get the oxygen and sustenance necessary for proper functioning. Blood pressure occurs due to the heart beating and its pumping blood to the arteries—creating pressure in them. This pressure, known as blood pressure, is two-fold, a result of the blood pumping into the arteries and through the circulatory system AND from how the arteries resist the flow of blood.

Healthy individuals have strong and elastic arteries which accommodate when blood is pumped through them—stretching when the heart beats and pumps blood. This causes blood pressure to rise with each heartbeat (representative in the higher or systolic number in the blood pressure reading) and blood pressure to fall between heartbeats (representative of the lower or diastolic number in blood pressure readings). It is not uncommon for blood pressure to vary throughout the day due to regular activities such as exercising or sleeping, but when it is consistently above a “normal” range then there may be cause for concern.

Normal blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) for an average adult. Blood pressure readings consistently above this level (such as blood pressure that stays between 120-139/80-89 or above 140/90 or higher) can be problematic--but many are not aware of it.

Nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute), but most do not know that they have it since there are no symptoms, which is why high blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer.” As many as 72 million adults age 20 or older have high blood pressure (American Heart Association) and it is possible that individuals can unknowingly have high blood pressure for years until their uncontrolled blood pressure manifests itself in the form of a stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include obesity, high sodium intake, excessive stress, inactivity, etc., but by lessening these risk factors and having your blood pressure checked regularly, you could avoid this silent killer.

So take time to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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Common Makers Diet Jordan Rubin misspellings are Jordan Ruben, Jordan Reuben, Jordon Rubin, Jordon Ruben, or Jordon Reuben