After more than a century of debate over the role of salt in human health, new medical evidence suggests that reducing salt in the U.S. diet may pose a greater risk of harm to the average person. Consider these four common myths about salt.
(BPT) - After more than a century of debate over the role of salt in human health, new medical evidence suggests that reducing salt in the U.S. diet may pose a greater risk of harm to the average person. Consider these four common myths about salt:
Myth 1: Salt consumption leads to hypertension
According to the Mayo Clinic, “For most adults, there's no identifiable cause of high blood pressure [hypertension].” Dr. Jan Staessen, head of the Research Unit on Hypertension at the University of Leuven in Belgium, has written that, “The evidence relating blood pressure to salt intake does not translate into an increased risk of incident hypertension in people consuming a usual salt diet.” Having a temporarily elevated blood pressure is not the same thing as having hypertension, as blood pressure varies normally throughout the day depending on a variety of factors.
Myth 2: Americans could massively reduce their salt consumption without any negative health consequences
Dr. Andrew Mente, of McMaster University in Canada, and his team conducted the largest ever epidemiologic study of the impact of sodium intake on blood pressure, cardiovascular disease risk and mortality. “We found that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is related to more heart attacks, strokes and deaths compared to average intake,” he said.
Myth 3: The U.S. population would gain significant health benefits from major population-wide salt reduction
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a maximum daily limit of 2,300 mg of sodium per day and a maximum of 1,500 mg for people with certain conditions. Salt is 40 percent sodium. According to Dr. Michael H. Alderman of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, “Sodium consumption around the globe has a mean of about 3,600 mg/day, and a range from 2,600–5,000 mg/day. This mid-range describes about 90 percent of the world’s population. ... Optimal survival is realized by those whose intake is between 2,800 and 5,000 mg/day. Specifically, there is no evidence of a superior health outcome at intakes less than 2,000 mg/day compared with those in the usual range.”
Myth 4: Americans eat more salt than ever
Military records from the early 1800s up to WWII show that the average soldier was consuming between 6,000 and 6,800 mg/day of sodium. We eat about half of that today, and that number has remained consistent since WWII. The advent of refrigeration meant that we could preserve food with less salt, but salt remains a critical ingredient for food safety and preservation.
Sodium chloride (salt) is a nutrient that the body cannot produce, and therefore it must be consumed. The average American eats about 3,400 mg per day of sodium, according to The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, right in the middle of the healthy range.
Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health. These can impact the health of your eyes as well.
(BPT) - Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health.
What many don’t realize is that when blood flow is blocked or slows down, the health of our eyes can also be affected. That means that wearing neckties too tight or doing certain yoga poses, such as the downward dog, can increase pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an eye disease called glaucoma. Glaucoma has few warning signs, and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. Being overweight or having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for another common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.
Vision loss — or even worse, blindness — can negatively impact the quality of life, independence and the ability to do daily things such as driving, reading or seeing grandchildren.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that individuals 65 and older get an annual medical eye exam with an ophthalmologist, which is a medical doctor who specializes in medical and surgical eye care. Through comprehensive eye exams, ophthalmologists can check a person’s eyes for hidden signs of eye disease, which may have no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Once diagnosed, ophthalmologists can provide treatments to help prevent vision loss.
For those concerned about the cost of an exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. More than 5,500 dedicated volunteer ophthalmologists provide eye exams and care, often at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients. Since 1985, the program has helped nearly 2 million people in need.
EyeCare America serves U.S. citizens or legal residents who do not belong to an HMO.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America seniors program, an individual:
* Must be age 65 or older, and
* Have not had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist in three or more years.
To be eligible for the EyeCare America glaucoma program, an individual:
* Must not have had an eye exam within the last year, and must be at an increased glaucoma risk due to age, race and/or family history.
Many sight-stealing conditions can be prevented or slowed down with proper care and making simple lifestyle adjustments such as:
1. Avoid inverted postures in yoga. Studies show head-down positions can increase eye pressure and are not recommended for glaucoma patients. There are plenty of yoga exercises that don’t have this effect.
2. Avoid tight neckties. Researchers say that a too-tight necktie may increase the risk of glaucoma by increasing blood pressure inside the eyes.
3. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy ones. One study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Why? Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
4. Exercise regularly. According to the National Eye Institute, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise have been shown in earlier studies to protect against AMD. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity appear to have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. This is because blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise.
For more information about EyeCare America or to see if you or others are eligible to be matched with one of its volunteer ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.
EyeCare America is cosponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support from Alcon and Regeneron.
Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents. With these modifiable tips, communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
5 Steps to Creating a Healthier Community
(Family Features) Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents.
What can prove to have an enduring impact on improving community health is a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to create a culture of wellness. For example, the City of West Chicago, with its Healthy West Chicago initiative, is a case study in how to galvanize a community toward collective better health. With these modifiable tips from Mayor Ruben Pineda, other communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.
Have a champion
Engage other community members
“The key to a sustainable, healthy future is to change the way the next generation thinks about nutrition and exercise,” Mayor Pineda said. “This makes the public school system critical to driving the behavioral changes that contribute to positive outcomes.”
Measure and adjust
Keep it fresh
For more information about how to implement a health and wellness program in your city, contact Mayor Pineda’s office at (630) 293-2200 extension 135, or visit healthywestchicago.com.
Photo of Mayor Pineda walking with students courtesy of Healthy West Chicago
City of West Chicago
As the future of contraception remains uncertain, one point bears reminding: access to birth control has come a long way. Whether you’re a woman considering prescription oral contraception or a parent whose daughter is exploring her options, these facts to can help you get to know the birth control pill.
How Well Do You Know Your Birth Control?
(Family Features) As the future of contraception remains uncertain, one point bears reminding: access to birth control has come a long way.
It was not until 1960 that the first oral contraceptives – coined “birth control pills” or “the Pill” –were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and hit the market.¹
Now, more than 50 years later, over 35 varieties of the Pill exist on the market.² Additional options have also been introduced: intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, implants and more. Even with the availability of various birth control methods, the Pill remains the most popular form of contraception, used by over 10 million women of reproductive age in the U.S. annually.³
“When my patients express interest in prescription birth control for pregnancy prevention, while individual needs vary, I generally recommend they first try the Pill. If used appropriately, it can be an effective option for women,” OB/GYN Jessica Shepherd, M.D., said. “That said, because the Pill may not be right for everyone, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your options and make the decision together.”
Whether you’re a woman considering prescription oral contraception or a parent whose daughter is exploring her options, Dr. Shepherd shares the following facts to help you get to know the birth control pill:
For additional facts about the birth control pill, visit KnowYourBirthControl.com, and speak to your healthcare provider to determine the method that is right for you.
What is Lo Loestrin Fe?
IMPORTANT RISK INFORMATION
Who should not take Lo Loestrin Fe?
What else should I know about taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
What are the most serious risks of taking Lo Loestrin Fe?
What are the possible side effects of Lo Loestrin Fe?
Birth control pills do not protect you against any sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
© 2017 Allergan. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
¹Selections From FDLI Update Series on FDA History - FDA's Approval of the First Oral Contraceptive, Enovid. (n.d.). Retrieved Nov. 9, 2017, from https://www.fda.gov/aboutfda/whatwedo/history/productregulation/selectionsfromfdliupdateseriesonfdahistory/ucm092009.htm
This time of year, millions of Americans are making resolutions to lose weight. With new diet plans popping up seemingly every day, the process of choosing a plan that works for you and fits your lifestyle can be an intimidating one. Many experts agree, however, that a diet high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates offers significant benefits.
Kickstart a Healthier Lifestyle
Consider a high-protein, low-carb and low-sugar option
(Family Features) This time of year, millions of Americans are making resolutions to lose weight. When it comes to adopting a healthy eating plan, it can seem like the options are endless. With new diet plans popping up seemingly every day, the process of choosing a plan that works for you and fits your lifestyle can be an intimidating one.
Many experts agree, however, that a diet high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates offers significant benefits. This was the foundation for the South Beach Diet, introduced 15 years ago by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. Since its introduction, it has helped millions of people successfully lose weight, while its books became best-sellers with more than 23 million copies sold in print.
Now in its second year as a structured weight-loss meal delivery program, South Beach introduced an enhanced three-phase approach designed to burn fat, transform metabolism and boost energy, including a 7-Day Body Reboot to help break the sugar habit and South Beach Complete Shakes. According to the company, users can expect to lose up to 9 pounds and 3 inches overall in their first two weeks on the program.
Over-consumption of sugar, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease, is one of the biggest problems in many Americans’ diets, according to Agatston.
“Sugar, be it simple sugar or from refined carbs, should be avoided,” Agatston said. “In fact, I would say fats aren’t making us gain weight, sugar is. It’s not about eliminating fats and carbs, it’s about the quality of the fats and carbs you’re eating.”
To help break the harmful sugar habit, foods on the South Beach Diet provide 1 percent of calories from added sugars – significantly lower than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation, which suggests that no more than 10 percent of calories come from added sugars.
So what’s the easiest way to live a high-protein, low-sugar, low-carb lifestyle? The answer could be a weight loss meal delivery program, like South Beach. For many, meal prep is equally as intimidating as sticking to a New Year’s resolution. The time required for food shopping and meal preparation often prevents a person from sticking to his or her healthy lifestyle. A weight-loss meal delivery plan allows one to make smarter meal choices and eliminates nearly all prep time. According to South Beach, its program delivers fully prepared, delicious meals that make sticking to a healthy lifestyle simpler and more convenient.
For added convenience, the South Beach Diet Tracker App provides access to meal plans and recipes as well as support and counseling from trained weight-loss coaches and registered dietitians.
Find more tips and tools to begin the weight loss journey at SouthBeachDiet.com.SOURCE:
South Beach Diet
Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control. Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season.
Managing High Blood Pressure During the Holidays
(Family Features) Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control.
If you are one of the millions of American adults with high blood pressure, it is vital to keep your blood pressure stable. Drastic changes can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season from the American Heart Association:
Be Wary of Decongestants
Keep Track of Medication
“Factors like cold weather, sudden increase in activity like shoveling snow, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event,” said Jorge Plutzky, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.
It is vital to keep track of your medication and take it as prescribed by your doctor to decrease chances of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association’s Check Change Control Tracker is one way to monitor your health, as it allows you to set up text message reminders, text in blood pressure readings, connect with volunteers or providers, and receive messages from volunteers or providers.
Maintain Healthy Eating Habits
Staying active while traveling can be a challenge, as well. Try bringing simple exercise equipment like a jump rope or resistance band with you. Consider walking to sights or restaurants nearby, or finding a local park or indoor walking path.
For more information and tools about blood pressure management, visit heart.org/hbp.
Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Heart Association
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