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 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.
Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health. Here's an easy way to start your day "heart smart!"
Simple Ways to be Heart Smart
Discover recipes chock-full of heart-healthy pecans
(Family Features) Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health – like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the escalator and adding nutritious ingredients to your snacks and meals.
Incorporating nutritious ingredients is an easy way to step up your mealtime – for example, American Pecans can super-fy nearly any recipe by adding flavor and nutrition.
It’s always a good time to include heart-healthy ingredients on your shopping list. Certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check*, American Pecans and their unique mix of unsaturated fats, plant sterols, fiber and flavonoids add up to help promote a healthy heart. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, each day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) contains 18 grams unsaturated fat and only 2 grams saturated fat.
Boosting the heart-smart punch of your favorite recipes can be easy with pecans. Whether topping a salad, sprinkling into bread batter or using them as the foundation of a portable snack, there are few things America’s native nut can’t do.
Discover more ways to create heart-healthy meals with pecans at AmericanPecan.com.
Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal
Cherry Pecan Energy Bites
Makes: 10-12 energy bites
Note: To make gluten-free, substitute 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats.
*Heart-Check certification does not apply to recipes.SOURCE:
American Pecan Council
(BPT) - Does it ever seem like a lot of healthy-eating advice is about “less,” “giving up” and “taking away?” Reducing fat and sodium intake, avoiding high-calorie foods and trimming portion sizes are commonly heard pieces of advice when you’re trying to lose weight or improve your diet. But health experts agree, good eating doesn’t just mean giving up bad habits, it’s also about adding foods with more nutritional value.
“Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on making nutrition-packed swaps,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “A few easy swaps I tell my clients about include replacing white bread with whole grain, higher-fat protein sources with leaner ones, and upgrading your ordinary products like eggs or cereal with higher-nutrition varieties.”
Here are five better-for-you food swaps from Blatner that will jam-pack your diet with enhanced nutrition without making you feel like you’re giving anything up:
Instead of mayo
Try an avocado-based spread on your sandwiches and as a base for homemade dressings. A single tablespoon of mayonnaise has 90 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol and 90 milligrams of sodium, but zero potassium or fiber, according to the California Avocado Commission. In comparison, 2 tablespoons of fresh avocado have just 50 calories, 4.5 grams of (mostly good) fat, no cholesterol or sodium, and 150 milligrams of potassium and 2 grams of fiber.
Instead of any old egg
Try eggs with superior nutritional benefits. While all eggs are high in protein, Eggland’s Best eggs contain double the omega-3s and three times more vitamin B12 than ordinary eggs — both nutrients associated with heart health. Plus, they contain 25 percent less saturated fat, five times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs.
Instead of white rice
While carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your brain and muscles, many favorite sources are stripped of nutrition, such as white rice. Cauliflower can be an easy substitute for rice. This white veggie packs plenty of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamin C. To replace rice, simply pulse the cauliflower in a food processor for a few seconds until you achieve the desired consistency.
Instead of fried food
The crunch of fried food is alluring, but you can get that same crunch in a much healthier superfood way. Instead of coating chicken or fish with breading and plunging it into a bath of hot oil, use chopped nuts. Nuts contain healthy fat, protein, and fiber and when baked in a hot oven (about 400-425 degrees F), nut-coated protein is crunchy and delicious. Try nut-covered chicken fingers today!
Instead of ground beef
Americans love beef and eat about 25 billion pounds of it every year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But depending on the quality and cut you buy, beef can be high in fat and cholesterol. Lentils can be a high-nutrition protein source that can go virtually anywhere you use ground beef, including burgers, meatloaf and taco filling. Naturally low in calories and fat free, lentils provide fiber, protein and potassium.
Food swaps focused on increasing healthful nutrients, rather than decreasing what you don’t want, can be rewarding and delicious. Try this recipe from Eggland’s best to get started on your new “more-is-better” lifestyle.
Sweet Potato Bowl
Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to achieve personal or professional goals. One key to jumpstarting a healthy lifestyle is staying hydrated by drinking more water. Here are four tips to help you stay hydrated in 2017 and beyond.
It’s Not Too Late to Jumpstart a Healthy Lifestyle for 2017
(Family Features) Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to achieve personal or professional goals. For many, that means focusing on improving health and wellness. You tell yourself this is going to be the year you join a gym, eat better or drink more water. Yet that commitment often falls short, as a recent survey suggests less than 10 percent of Americans achieve their resolutions.
There are many reasons people fall short of their goals, including setting the bar too high or being overly restrictive, which can lead to small failures and setbacks. However, there are easy ways to get back on track. A Global Water Survey, published by Nestlé Waters and Kantar TNS, revealed 94 percent of American respondents believe drinking water helps maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One key to jumpstarting a healthy lifestyle is staying hydrated by drinking more water. With so much focus on food, beverage choices are often overlooked. With no calories or added sugars, water is a smart choice to stay hydrated. Here are four tips from Sarah Ladden, a registered dietitian and Director, Nutrition, Health and Wellness at Nestlé Waters North America, to help you stay hydrated in 2017 and beyond.
To learn more about healthy hydration, visit nestle-watersna.com/en.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
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