Salt consumption is a common cause of high blood pressure. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day. That’s equal to about one teaspoon of salt.
But by some estimates, the average American takes in 50 percent more salt than the daily limit, and this excess starts in childhood. Kids between ages 6 and 10 take in 2,900 mg a day, while teens top out at about 3,700 mg per day.
More than 75 percent of the salt we consume comes from processed foods. That’s because sodium is added to virtually everything. Any item in your cupboard is likely to contain added salt.
Eating out is also to blame. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many entrees at leading restaurants and fast food eateries contain almost a full daily allotment of salt — about one teaspoon, or 2,300 mg. And depending on what you chose, the amount may be significantly higher.
What you drink can also be a factor. For instance, you may know that coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant, and that over time coffee drinkers tend to have higher blood pressure.
But coffee isn’t the only beverage that presents this problem. A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at the impact on blood pressure and the heart after 34 health volunteers between ages 18 and 40 consumed 32 ounces of an energy drink in a short time span compared to a group that drank a placebo. The energy drinks tested contained 304 mg to 320 mg of caffeine per 32 ounces.
Other common ingredients studied in energy drinks included taurine (an amino acid), glucuronolactone (found in plants and connective tissues), and B vitamins. The placebo drink contained carbonated water, lime juice, and cherry flavoring.
Researchers found a 4 mmHg to 5 mmHg increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants who consumed energy drinks.
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