The San Quentin News “ Health and Wellness Corner” column runs every month. A University of California, San Francisco health professional student will answer questions that you submit about health issues. Inquiries will be answered in the next month’s paper. Feel free to ask us questions about any medical concern that you have, and it may be answered so that everyone can benefit. If you have a question, put it in a U-Save-Em envelope addressed to: “Health and Wellness Corner,” UCSF Doctors (Dr. Shira Shavit) – Medical Box. If you include your name and number, they will be kept confidential. Note that this column is for general medical questions.
We would like to thank you for your submissions. This edition, we will address the following question:
How does eating Ramen affect blood pressure?
What is it in Ramen that can affect your blood pressure? Salt!
Each Ramen soup comes with a flavor packet that contains salt and other spices. These flavor packets contain about 1500 milligrams (mg) of salt (Roughly ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. You should have no more than 1.5 teaspoons of salt in 1 day). For your comparison, other foods such as one slice of lunch meat might have only 13% of your daily salt needs.
How does salt affect your blood pressure?
Blood vessels carry blood to important parts of our body, like our hearts and brains. Too much salt causes more fluid to be in your blood vessels and increases the pressure inside them. This would be like pumping too much air into a bicycle tire and making the pressure inside very high. This is dangerous because high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Most people in the U.S. eat too much salt every day, but not everyone who does will have high blood pressure. The people who should be most careful about how much salt they eat are those who have high blood pressure or borderline high blood pressure.
Some suggestions that we have for you:
- Limit the number of Ramen packets that you eat- maybe just one a day.
- Use only ½ of the flavor packet and add your own spices to help improve the flavor.
- Do not add extra salt to your food if you can.
- Know your blood pressure and have it checked regularly.
- Pay attention to the amount of salt that is in all of the foods that you eat- foods like preserved meats (tuna, mackerel, meat logs) can have a lot of salt too!
If you do not feel well or have an URGENT medical concern, fill out a 7362 request for services form to see your housing unit medical staff.