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.
One in four people die from heart disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have it or are at risk of developing the disease. Here are three tried-and-true ways you and your friends and family can help each other give your hearts a boost.
3 Ways to Make Your Heart Healthier
(Family Features) Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? One in four people die from it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have it or are at risk of developing the disease. Smoking, being overweight or having diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease all increase your chances of getting the disease.
The good news is that you can do something about it.
“It’s never too late – or too early – to lower your risk for heart disease,” said Josephine Boyington, Ph.D., a nurse, licensed nutritionist and program director in the Division of Cardiovascular Health at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
“Heart disease is a general term for a variety of conditions, such as clogged arteries, that make it difficult for your heart to pump blood properly,” she said. “Adopting small changes, like moving more and following a heart-healthy eating plan, can make a big difference. Research has shown that making healthy lifestyle changes that last can be a lot easier when you have friends or family doing it with you.”
To mark American Heart Month, the NHLBI – the nation’s leader in research on the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders – is encouraging that kind of group support. It is celebrating “Our Hearts,” a national effort to motivate Americans to join each other in adopting heart-healthy behaviors throughout the year and beyond.
Ready to start? Here are three tried-and-true ways you and your friends and family can help each other give your hearts a boost.
1. Adopt a healthy eating plan. Try NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. It’s free and, when compared to a typical American diet, has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels. The DASH eating plan features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts and lean meats, and it limits foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars and sodium. Have fun with menus by inviting friends to join you for a heart-healthy dinner party or start a lunch club at work and trade creative recipe ideas with your colleagues.
2. Move more and #MoveWithHeart. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is inactivity. Getting up and moving helps lower that risk – and you don’t need to put in hours at a time to see results. Breaking up your daily activity into small chunks, such as 10-minute increments three times a day for five days a week, can begin to make a difference. To stay motivated, find a walking buddy or make a standing date to walk with a friend or neighbor, dance at home with your kids or play a pickup soccer or basketball game with colleagues. The bottom line: just move.
3. Quit smoking. It can be hard to stop, but the benefits to your lungs and heart are huge. For inspiration and to keep you motivated, consider a support group. You can find resources and connect with a trained counselor by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting smokefree.gov.
For more information about heart health, and to discover what activities are going on in your community, visit nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts. Use #OurHearts on social media to share how you and your friends and family are keeping your hearts healthy.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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
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