Salt is so vilified isn’t it. It causes heart disease by hardening the arteries and raising peoples blood pressure. Well the blood pressure part is true for some and perhaps the former for some also. If salt is over consumed it will hold water in the body {remember osmosis: water follows salt} and this extra fluid puts pressure on the blood vessels, forcing the pressure up. The kidneys job is to release this extra fluid and balance the Sodium {salt} and Potassium levels at the same time. Potassium helps cells release fluid and you want your kidneys to maintain a balance between Potassium & Sodium. But Sodium and Potassium levels are also highly influenced by our dietary intake. Those with high blood pressure need to reduce salt intake and increase Potassium intake at the same time. That parts easy ~ eat more vegetables and less processed foods.

French fries, salt & flavonoids

The kidneys also control blood pressure through hormonal regulation ~ in response to stress it immediately goes up to keep the blood in the center of the body. Sometimes you can feel this sensation in the core of the body where the diaphragm muscles accumulate tension, so feel out for this when you are next rushing or stressing. Rushing is a great analogy for stress. It literally puts the pressure on us #UnderPressure. When treating high blood pressure it is imperative that the stress hormones levels are worked on too. We use nervine’s {herbs that relax our nervous system} when we treat blood pressure to help us relax. But our blood vessels are designed to take on extra pressure from time to time and they do this by flexing. So if our blood vessels are nice and flexible they can carry this pressure aswell.

So how do we keep our blood vessels flexible? For starters, good fats such as omega 3 oils are very flexible #polyunsaturated fats. They remain fluid even in cold temperatures. So if there is lots of omega 3 in the cells that make up the blood vessel lining then we are in a good place to start with. Where do we get omega 3 from? Quality #FlaxseedOil and quality #FishOil. Secondly we need a healthy collagen matrix that provides the strength for your blood vessels. #Collagen #VitaminC and #Zinc are the most important nutrients for producing strong collagen molecules. Often Vitamin C and Zinc hang around together in the body and fix stuff. White blood cells like them too. Anyway, I digress. Fats, Proteins, vitamins & minerals. That’s it really. Good blood vessels also get support from Flavonoids. Flavonoids are special chemicals that are like anti-inflammatory’s to our blood vessels. If you want strong AND healthy blood vessels then I suggest taking Flavonoid containing herbs like #BlackcurrantPowder #PineBark #GinkgoBiloba or #Hawthorne for their blood vessel benefits. They are all antioxidants. Vitamin E will also protect your vessel shape too. You can find this in nuts, seeds and quality plant oils from nuts and seeds. #OliveOil comes to mind.

Salt has a taste tolerance. I do believe that some people may be well and truly pickled. Fat tissue that has built up over time which is full of salt is a health hazard. If we never lose this weight it simply stays there. People who got stuck on the taste of salt and developed a tolerance {Didn’t you know about spices!} {They taste too!} have developed too high a salt tolerance. The more you have the more you can tolerate. Lowering salt tolerance is important for those who over use salt. Switching to herbs and other seasonings while reducing salt is one way to keep food tasty. If we rely on salt for the job it is too much for us. I recommend going cold turkey on salt for a day or two and then reintroducing it back into the diet at a lower dose. Ironically, the way to eliminate sodium from the body {and therefore fluid retention} is to drink more water. The kidneys will eliminate this for us on a daily basis and we can eventually return to balance.

If you get times when you get easily dehydrated then you likely don’t have enough salt in your diet. This happens easily if we eat a healthy diet, drink lots of water and sweat or exercise alot. We may just need a top up in salt. If we don’t we can easily get dehydrated, even though we are drinking lots of water. There is noting to stick it there {remember osmosis: water follows salt}. Liquorice is a wonderful herb for those of us who get easily dehydrated and who have low blood pressure as it gently lifts the blood pressure and helps us retain fluid. This is why hypertensives {Those with a tendency toward high blood pressure} shouldn’t consume Liquorice and should avoid salt.

Liquorice also slows the breakdown of stress hormones. Bus isn’t stress bad? Well..hmm..yes but our stress hormones helps us react to stress when it happens. The adrenal hormones are told to by our nerves to create stress hormones, plus they wake us up in the morning. Liquorice should only be taken when under stressed or moderately stressed. Not at the peak of stress as it would be counterproductive. During times of moderate stress Liquorice can help us recover faster as it means we don’t have to make as much stress hormone and we can survive like that for much longer. Again when we are exhausted Liquorice with the help of some Ginseng will pick us up again #AutumnTonic #NoRestForTheWicked #ElixirOfLife. Liquorice #TheSweetestRoot really is a healing herb. It also soothes the throat and the tummy so if you have a cough take some as needed. Liquorice not to be used if you have high blood pressure, fluid retention or insomnia. There is a time and a place for Liquorice to be put down, despite its sweet encouraging taste.

Finally, If you work outside e.g. you are a Tradesperson or a heavy sweater, then it is a good idea to have some salt in the form of electrolytes this summer. Electrolyte tablets are a balance of Sodium, Chloride, Potassium and Magnesium. You will sweat these out on hot days so to avoid getting dehydrated pop a pill in the afternoon with a big glass of water and you will be fine for the rest of the day ~ promise.

So if you get dehydrated easily, get headaches, work outside, are under stressed or exhausted ~ you need salt!

If you have hypertension or fluid retention you need more potassium!

Do you know when you need Salt? Come in and talk to us if you do. There are some do’s and don’t to know about when buying salt

#Iodine #ApothecaryNow #Tannery #HerbalPharmacy #QualifiedProfessionals #Nutrition #Education #Prevention

Simone Reddington is the founder of the Apothecary, a Medical Herbalist and thinker. She holds a degree in Psychology and is a professional member of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists.