Excessive salt consumption dangerous

Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is made up of 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chloride. Found predominantly in pre-prepared foods, excessive salt consumption has been linked with high blood pressure and stomach cancer, and can exacerbate osteoporosis and asthma.

The sodium component of salt is vital for controlling the amount of water in the body, maintaining the normal pH of blood, transmitting nerve signals and helping muscular contraction. Salt is present in all foods in varying degrees, and almost all processed foods contain added salt.

Sodium, unlike all other minerals, is generally over consumed, with the dietary intake of salt in the UK being far in excess of the recommended daily requirement.

Adults are advised to consume no more than 6g salt per day (about one teaspoon). Current intake is about 9g per day - that’s 50 per cent higher than is recommended for good health. Babies and children should have less salt than adults. High salt intake in babies can be especially dangerous, as their kidneys cannot cope with large amounts.

People who have experienced heart problems or have high blood pressure should follow a low-salt diet and take advice from their health care professional. Reducing sodium has been proven to be one of the best ways of lowering high blood pressure, especially in combination with broader dietary changes.

Convenience foods, ready meals and canned foods, as well as eating out frequently, all contribute to a higher sodium intake, so read labels carefully to compare foods and opt for those lower in salt. Some labels provide both the salt and the sodium content within the product. This can be confusing, as the two are not interchangeable - 1g of salt contains 0.4g sodium

If you're checking labels, here's a guide based on 100g/ml of product:

Ways to reduce salt intake:

Use fresh or dried herbs and spices to flavour vegetables

  Avoid adding salt to your food when eating

  Use soy sauce sparingly: one teaspoon contains about 0.36gof sodium (equivalent to 0.9g salt)

   Buy fresh or frozen vegetables, or those canned without salt

   Rinse canned foods, such as beans, to remove excess salt

    Choose breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium

    Buy low or reduced sodium versions, or those with no salt added

Symptoms of increased salt intake include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. High concentrations of sodium in the body can also result from excessive water or fluid loss. Persistently high levels of sodium in the blood can result in swelling, high blood pressure, difficulty in breathing, and heart failure, and may be fatal.

A high dietary salt intake is an important causal factor in the development of hypertension (high blood pressure), which currently affects 32 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women in the UK. Hypertension increases the risk of strain on the heart, enlarges the heart muscle, and prevents an adequate blood (and therefore oxygen) supply from reaching the heart, and may lead to heart failure, angina or heart attack.

This is rare because our dietary intake is so high, but levels of sodium in the body can become too low as a result of prolonged illness. Sodium levels can also become low due to dehydration or excessive or persistent sweating, which may occur during very hot weather or affect marathon runners, athletes in triathlons, or people with certain forms of kidney disease, such as acute kidney failure.

Symptoms of a deficiency of sodium include headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, drowsiness, fainting, fatigue and possibly coma.

    More than 90 per cent of sodium occurs as salt.

    More than three quarters of salt intake is derived from processed foods, just under 15 per cent from natural sources, about 10 per cent is added during cooking or when eating and 1 per cent comes from tap water.

    Cereal products including breakfast cereals, bread, cakes and biscuits provide about a third of the salt in our diet.  Meat and meat products provide just over a quarter of the salt in our diet.

    In addition to sodium chloride, there is a wide variety of other forms of sodium in our diet, many of which are used as additives in food processing, usually to add flavour, texture or as a preservative. For example, monosodium glutamate is commonly used as a flavour enhancer.

 

Source: BBC

Nada Haj Khider

Pill shows innovative way of lowering blood sugar

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved a first-of-its-kind diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson that uses a new method to lower blood sugar — flushing it out in patients’ urine.

The agency cleared J&J’s Invokana tablets for adults with Type 2 diabetes. The once-a-day medication works by blocking the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar, which occurs at higher levels in patients with diabetes than in healthy patients. Regulators highlighted the drug as the first in a new class of medications that could help address the growing US diabetes epidemic.

Analysts estimate Invokana could eventually grow into a blockbuster drug, generating more than $1 billion in sales annually for J&J.

People with type 2 diabetes are unable to properly break down carbohydrates, either because their bodies do not produce enough insulin or have become resistant to the hormone, which controls blood sugar levels. These patients are at higher risk for heart attacks, kidney problems, blindness and other serious complications. Diabetics often require multiple drugs with different mechanisms of action to control their blood sugar levels.

Invokana differs from older drugs that work by shrinking the amount of sugar absorbed from food and stored in the liver. The most common side effects of Invokana are yeast infections and urinary tract infections, due to the higher amounts of sugar passing through a patient’s urine. The drug also can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure when a patient stands up, which can lead to dizziness or fainting, according to the FDA.

The FDA said it approved the drug based on nine studies involving more than 10,000 patients. The studies showed that Invokana, both alone and in combination with other diabetes drugs, helped control blood sugar levels.

“We continue to advance innovation with the approval of new drug classes that provide additional treatment options for chronic conditions that impact public health,” said Dr Mary Parks, director of the FDA’s division of endocrinology products.

Regulators are requiring Johnson & Johnson to conduct five follow-up studies to assure the drug’s safety. The company will track rates of heart problems, cancer, pancreatitis and liver abnormalities, among other issues.

In recent years, the FDA has required companies developing diabetes drugs to closely monitor all heart-related side effects in patients. That’s because diabetes medicines are taken daily for many years, and one former blockbuster, GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s Avandia, was linked to higher heart attack risks.

Associated Press

B.N

traffic pollution causes Childhood Asthma

New research conducted in 10 cities has estimated that 14% of chronic childhood asthma is due to exposure to traffic pollution near busy roads.

 The results are comparable to the burden associated with passive smoking: the World Health Organization estimates that between 4% and 18% of asthma cases in children are linked to passive smoking.

Until now, traffic pollution was assumed to only trigger asthma symptoms and burden estimations did not account for chronic asthma caused by the specific range of toxicants that are found near heavily used roads.

The researchers used a method known as population-attributable fractions to assess the impact of near-road traffic pollution. This calculates the proportional reduction in disease or death that would occur if exposure to a risk factor were reduced to a lower level .

The new research used data from existing epidemiological studies which found that children exposed to higher levels of near-road traffic-related pollution also had higher rates of asthma, even when taking into account a range of other relevant factors such as passive smoking or socioeconomic factors.

The researchers aimed to take these findings further and estimate how many asthma cases could be avoided if exposure was removed.

The results found that 14% of asthma cases across the 10 cities could be attributed to near-road traffic pollution. The findings also take into account differences in the health of the overall population in different cities.

Lead author, Dr Laura Perez at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, said: "Air pollution has previously been seen to trigger symptoms but this is the first time we have estimated the percentage of cases that might not have occurred if people had not been exposed to road traffic pollution. In light of all the existing epidemiological studies showing that road-traffic contributes to the onset of the disease in children, we must consider these results to improve policy making and urban planning."

Nada Haj Khider

Source : Science Daily

The Benefits of Optimism

In a study, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists. Other studies have linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.

Greater Achievement

Researcher Martin Seligman analyzed the explanatory styles of sports teams and found that the more optimistic teams created more positive synergy and performed better than the pessimistic ones. Another study showed that pessimistic swimmers who were led to believe they’d done worse than they had were prone to future poor performance. Optimistic swimmers didn’t have this vulnerability.

Research like this has led some companies to go out of their way to hire optimists -- a practice that seems to be paying off.

Persistence

Optimists don’t give up as easily as pessimists, and they are more likely to achieve success because of it. Some optimistic businessmen, like Donald Trump, have been bankrupt (even multiple times), but have been able to persist and turn their failures into millions.

Emotional Health

In a study of clinically depressed patients, it was discovered that 12 weeks of cognitive therapy (which involves reframing a person's thought processes) worked better than drugs, as changes were more long-lasting than a temporary fix. Patients who had this training in optimism had the ability to more effectively handle future setbacks.

Increased Longevity

In a retrospective study of 34 healthy Hall of Fame baseball players who played between 1900 and 1950, optimists lived significantly longer. Other studies have shown that optimistic breast cancer patients had better health outcomes than pessimistic and hopeless patients.

Less Stress

Optimists also tend to experience less stress than pessimists or realists. Because they believe in themselves and their abilities, they expect good things to happen. They see negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome, and view positive events as evidence of further good things to come. Believing in themselves, they also take more risks and create more positive events in their lives.

Additionally, research shows that optimists are more proactive with stress management, favoring approaches that reduce or eliminate stressors and their emotional consequences. Optimists work harder at stress management, so they're less stressed.

Optimism has very relationship with Positive thinking which helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self.

Source: About.com

Raghda Sawas

Corn, rich source of vitamins

Health benefits of corn include controlling diabetes, prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertension and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth. Corn or maize is one of the most popular cereals in the world and forms the staple food in many countries including USA, Africa etc.

Corn not only provides the necessary calories for daily metabolism, but is a rich source of vitamins A, B, E and many minerals. Its high fibre content ensures that it plays a role in prevention of digestive ailments like constipation and haemorrhoids as well as colorectal cancer. The antioxidants present in corn also act as anti-cancer agents and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Corn provides may health benefits due to the presence of quality nutrients in it. Also, being rich in phytochemicals, it provides protection against numerous chronic diseases.

Following are some of the health benefits of corn:

Rich source of calories: Corn is a rich source of calories and forms a part of the staple diet among many populations. The calorific content of corn is 342 calories per 100grams, among the highest in cereals.

Reduces risk of haemorrhoids and colorectal cancer: The fibre content of one cup of corn amounts 18.4% of the daily recommended amount. This aids in alleviating digestive problems such as constipation and haemorrhoids, as well as lowering the risk of colon cancer.

Rich source of vitamins: Corn is rich in vitamin B constituents, especially Thiamin and Niacin. Thiamin is essential for maintaining nerve health and cognitive function. Niacin deficiency leads to Pellagra; a disease characterised by diarrhoea, dementia and dermatitis and is commonly observed in malnourished individuals. Corn is also a good source of Pantothenic acid which is a vitamin necessary for carbohydrate as well as protein and lipid metabolism in the body. Deficiency of folic acid in pregnant women leads to birth of underweight infants and may also result in neural tube defects at birth. Corn provides a large chunk of the daily folate requirement. Yellow corn is a rich source of beta-carotene which forms vitamin A in the body, essential for maintenance of good vision and skin. The kernels of corn are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant essential for growth.

Provides necessary minerals: Corn contains abundant phosphorus apart from magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper. It also contains trace minerals like selenium. Phosphorus is essential for maintenance of normal growth, bone health and normal kidney functioning. Magnesium is necessary for maintaining normal heart rate and for bone strength.

Antioxidant properties: According to studies carried out at Cornell University, corn is a rich source of antioxidants which fight the cancer causing free radicals. In fact, cooking increases the antioxidants in sweet corn. Corn is a rich source of a phenolic compound ferulic acid, an anti-cancer agent which has been shown to be effective in fighting tumours in breast cancer and liver cancer. Anthocyanins, found in purple corn also act as scavengers of cancer-causing free radicals.

Cardio-protective properties: According to researchers, corn oil has been shown to anti-atherogenic effect on the cholesterol levels, thus preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Prevents anemia: The vitamin B12 and folic acid present in corn prevent anemia caused by the deficiency of these vitamins.

Lowers LDL cholesterol: According to Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, consumption of corn husk oil lowers plasma LDL cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption by the body.

Controls diabetes and hypertension: Consumption of corn kernels assists the management of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and is effective against hypertension due to the presence of phenolic phytochemicals in whole corn.

Cosmetic benefits: Corn starch is used in the manufacture of many cosmetics and may also be applied topically to soothe skin rashes and irritations. Corn products can be used to replace carcinogenic petroleum products which form major components of cosmetic preparations.

Corn is a rich source of many essential nutrients and fibre: A meal rich in corn can go a long way in protecting against many diseases and ailments.

Source: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

RaghdaSawas