Question: I've been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Should I take medication and cut out salt to help lower it?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
I am not 100 percent against anti-hypertensive medications. In fact, I do prescribe them occasionally. However, they are over-prescribed and rarely treat the most common underlying cause of elevated blood pressure — diet and lifestyle choices that lead to obesity and insulin resistance.
These poor choices like eating an abundance of red meat and processed foods, and not getting enough fresh, whole foods, also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that cause the body to increase vascular pressure in order to maintain healthy blood flow to vital organs. In this case, cleaning up the diet and correcting nutritional deficiencies should be the first step to overcoming hypertension. Getting regular exercise is also critically important.
Most hypertensive patients need unrefined salt to replenish low mineral levels. However, in very rare cases, extremely salt-sensitive patients cannot tolerate an increase in salt. These salt-sensitive patients will notice an increase in blood pressure with the use of salt, whether it is refined or unrefined.