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A chef’s best friend may be the leading cause for heart attacks and strokes, studies show
The dangers of salt seem to becoming more and more apparent these days, studies have shown. In addition to reports about the excess amount of salt in toddlers' food recently, a new study has determined that an estimated 2.3 million deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related diseases could be due to excess salt consumption.
The studies combined global survey data on sodium intake and figures on death from heart-related conditions in 2010 to determine that 15 percent of heart attacks and strokes could have been caused from eating too much salt. While there was a strong correlation between heart diseases and the consumption of salt, authors of the study were only able to find an association between the two, and not a cause-and-effect relationship.
Even so, the deaths were classified as premature, occurring in people 69 years of age or younger, and the studies also found that they were prevalent in low-income families. Just as the toddler studies demonstrated, high salt consumption is usually due to eating too many processed foods, and the authors of the study hope to promote healthier, low-sodium diets with these findings.
Anne Dolce is the Cook editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce
Mint: 11 Marvelous Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts, and Healthy Recipes
Mint, commonly known as pudina, is a herb found in every Indian kitchen. It thrives in the chilly winter climate of Northern India, with many homemakers growing it in potted plants. A liberal addition of mint leaves as garnish not only improves the appearance of a dish but also lends a unique freshness to it. You can use it both in savory as well as sweet dishes. Refreshing drinks often contain this herb as it comes with a host of benefits that include freshness of breath and cooling of the body. Furthermore, this is certainly not the extent of its usefulness either. You are sure to be amazed by the plethora of nutritional benefits associated with this emerald green herb so close to the Indian heart.
Mix about 65 percent bran, 10 percent sugar and 25 percent Epsom salt, then add just enough water to make a thick paste. These proportions are approximate, but yield a mixture that is attractive to insects (which are drawn by the bran and sugar) while still being toxic to them (the Epsom salt dehydrates them). Spread the mixture around the base of any new plants or areas where infestation has been observed. While the mixture is toxic to insects, it's safe for humans and can be spread around food plants as well as decorative ones. The salt even provides some fertilizing benefits to the plants.
What are the benefits of cutting down on sodium?
Eating less sodium can reduce your risk for high blood pressure and bloating,and stave off other effects of too much salt. And did you know that reducing sodium in the food supply could save money and lives?
One estimate suggested that if Americans moved to an average intake of 1,500 mg/day sodium, it could result in a 25.6 percent overall decrease in blood pressure and an estimated $26.2 billion in health care savings.
Another estimate projected that achieving this goal would reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease by anywhere from 500,000 to nearly 1.2 million over the next 10 years.
Seasoning alternatives &mdash spice it up!
There is a rich world of creative and flavorful alternatives to salt. Get started with this guide to spices, herbs and flavorings and the food items with which they are a particularly good flavor match. Then get creative and experiment! Here are some seasonings to add variety:
- Allspice: Lean meats, stews, tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, cranberry sauce, gravies, lean meat
- Almond extract: Puddings, fruits
- Basil: Fish, lamb, lean ground meats, stews, salads, soups, sauces, fish cocktails
- Bay leaves: Lean meats, stews, poultry, soups, tomatoes
- Caraway seeds: Lean meats, stews, soups, salads, breads, cabbage, asparagus, noodles
- Chives: Salads, sauces, soups, lean meat dishes, vegetables
- Cider vinegar: Salads, vegetables, sauces
- Cinnamon: Fruits (especially apples), breads
- Curry powder: Lean meats (especially lamb), veal, chicken, fish, tomatoes, tomato soup
- Dill: Fish sauces, soups, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, potatoes, salads, macaroni, lean beef, lamb, chicken, fish
- Garlic (not garlic salt): Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes
- Ginger: Chicken, fruits
- Lemon juice: Lean meats, fish, poultry, salads, vegetables
- Mace: Hot breads, apples, fruit salads, carrots, cauliflower, squash, potatoes, veal, lamb
- Mustard (dry): Lean meats, chicken, fish, salads, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, sauces
- Nutmeg: Fruits, potatoes, chicken, fish, lean meat loaf, toast, veal, pudding
- Onion powder (not onion salt): Lean meats, stews, vegetables, salads, soups
- Paprika: Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, sauces, vegetables
- Parsley: Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, sauces, vegetables
- Peppermint extract: Puddings, fruits
- Pimiento: Salads, vegetables, casserole dishes
- Rosemary: Chicken, veal, lean meat loaf, lean beef, lean pork, sauces, stuffings, potatoes, peas, lima beans
- Sage: Lean meats, stews, biscuits, tomatoes, green beans, fish, lima beans, onions, lean pork
- Savory: Salads, lean pork, lean ground meats, soups, green beans, squash, tomatoes, lima beans, peas
- Thyme: Lean meats (especially veal and lean pork), sauces, soups, onions, peas, tomatoes, salads
- Turmeric: Lean meats, fish, sauces, rice
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Why Is Too Much Salt Bad for You?
Each week, MyHealthNewsDaily asks the experts to answer questions about your health. This week, we asked nutrition experts: Why is too much salt bad for you? Their answers have been edited and condensed for space.
Dr. Zachary Bloomgarden, professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City:
The simple answer is that salt is associated with higher blood pressure. About 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. have hypertension, and all of them would benefit from a low-salt diet.
Studies of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) show just how much of a difference salt intake can make. It's a very healthy, low-sodium diet, which has a lot of vegetables and not a lot of salt. The DASH diet can drop high blood pressure significantly.
The problem is that salt is very tasty, just like sugar. The combination of salt, sugar and fat is unbelievably tasty. All mammals have the desire to eat these bad foods.
The amount of salt that is available today, just like the amount of sugar that is available today, is far beyond what we were meant to have in our diets.
Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington:
Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. And, 1 in 3 Americans will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.
Limiting your sodium is tough because about 75 percent of sodium in Americans' diets comes from processed or prepared foods, not salt that we add at the table. If you're a savvy nutrition label reader, it can be shocking.
Even foods such as breads and cereals can have high amounts of salt. We call it a silent killer because a lot of people don't realize they have high blood pressure.
Marisa Moore, registered dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
The average American eats about 3,400 milligrams sodium a day, but the recommended amount for a healthy person is 2,300 milligrams a day. For people with high blood pressure or diabetes, African Americans, and anyone who is age 51 or older, the daily recommendation is 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
So, most people are consuming double what they need in terms of salt.
For most people, a high sodium diet can lead to retaining fluid. And for some sensitive people, retaining fluid can lead to higher blood pressure, which puts someone at higher risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Whenever you have a high blood pressure, it causes your heart to have to work a lot harder and it can cause damage to blood vessels and the heart muscle itself.
Stephanie Dunbar, registered dietician, director of Nutrition and Medical Affairs at the American Diabetes Association
Excess salt is has been linked to hypertension, and of course hypertension is a risk for heart disease. Some populations of people are very sodium sensitive, meaning when they eat sodium they retain fluid and their blood pressure rises.
There's some research that shows if everybody reduced sodium in their diet, the rates of heart disease in the United States would go way down.
With our current food production it's very difficult to cut out sodium. A slice of bread can have 250 milligrams of sodium alone. Unless you get back to a diet where you're really cooking from scratch, and not using processed foods or canned foods, it's really hard to reach that recommendation.
Salt has been used for hundreds of years as a preservative, and some food makers use it as a flavoring because it's cheaper. It's more expensive to use other herbs and spices to make food taste good better than to add salt.
Mary Ellen DiPaola, outpatient dietitian at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center
Sodium chloride, which we acquire from table salt as well as from salted food products, is required for metabolic functions in the body and helps regulate fluid volume. The issue with sodium is similar to sugar: The average American consumes well above the recommended amount.
If we are consuming fresh, whole and natural foods, sodium intake can be reduced quite easily. Avoiding added salt, soy sauce or other salty condiments will also help reduce total sodium intake. Look for products less than 140 milligrams per serving, which is considered to be low in sodium.
Requesting less sodium added to foods in restaurants is another means to reduce total daily sodium. More importantly, consider cooking at home with fresh foods and low sodium recipes.
And why should you lower sodium intake? Sodium in excess can increase blood pressure in those who have hypertension (high blood pressure), it can make the body retain fluids which may cause swelling in susceptible individuals, and salty foods tend to also be high in total fat and calories &ndash leading to excess total calorie intake, overweight and obesity.
A long term problem related to hypertension is kidney disease, a chronic illness which can lead to kidney failure.
Garrett Juice with a Twist
Making a mound drench by adding 2 ounces of orange oil to 1 gallon of Garrett Juice, is one of the alternative methods for ant control described in a review by the Department of Entomology of the Texas A&M University. The Garrett Juice recipe is a mixture of 1 gallon of water, 1 to 2 cups manure compost tea, 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon liquid seaweed and 1 tablespoon natural apple cider vinegar. Pour over the fire ant mound. Garrett Juice is also used as a foliage feeding spray.
PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPARISON OF BLOOD BEFORE AND AFTER EATING MEAT
The results show unequivocally that consuming unmarinated cooked pork shows a significant negative effect on the blood. Five hours after consumption, subjects showed extremely coagulated blood, with extensive red blood cell (RBC) rouleaux (cells in the formation of stacked coins), RBC aggregates, and the presence of clotting factors, especially fibrin, which is seen as white threads in dark-field microscopy.
FIGURE 1. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, before consuming the unmarinated cooked pork chop. RBCs are seen as round cells, and small white patches of platelet aggregates are seen. This is the picture of normal, healthy blood.
FIGURE 2. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, five hours after consuming the unmarinated cooked pork chop. RBCs are entirely stuck together in rouleaux (stacks of coins) formations. This blood condition disrupts the microcirculation.
FIGURE 3. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, five hours after consuming the unmarinated cooked pork chop. RBCs are entirely stuck together in rouleaux (stacks of coins) formations, and a high level of fibrin, white threads, means that early blood clotting has transpired.
Figure 1 shows the blood of a subject, male, age fifty-two, whose blood showed the most dramatic changes after eating unprocessed cooked pork. Initially, this subject’s blood looks very healthy. The RBCs are separate and uniformly round, and there are no debris or clotting factors seen in the plasma, which appears black in darkfield. Figures 2 and 3 show his blood about five hours after consuming the unmarinated cooked pork chop. His RBCs are completely congealed in tight rouleaux. Additionally, Figure 3 shows that the blood has a high level of fibrin as well as rouleaux. Not a single free-floating RBC was observed throughout his blood sample after he consumed the unmarinated cooked pork. This subject also felt considerable fatigue about two hours after eating the pork chop, although he insisted that he was not sleep deprived that day.
The other two subjects showed similar blood results following consumption of the unmarinated cooked pork chop. Two of the three subjects felt fatigued after eating the pork chop, which suggests reduced peripheral blood circulation due to RBC stickiness and aggregation. Because the tiniest microcapillaries are smaller than the diameter of a single blood cell, each cell must pass through singly and deform its shape in order to do so blood cell aggregates simply cannot pass through them.
By contrast, all three subjects reported no fatigue or other symptoms after eating the marinated cooked pork chop. Figure 4 shows the same subject’s fasted blood on another day prior to eating marinated pork. The same cut of pork was marinated in the refrigerator for twenty-four hours, completely submerged in unfiltered live apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”). The subject’s blood looks completely normal before consuming this pork chop. Then, five hours after consuming the same size portion of a marinated pork chop, the subject’s blood is shown in Figure 5. The RBCs in this blood sample show a very slight stickiness or tendency to aggregate, and a few platelet aggregate forms are seen, with no fibrin. The subject’s blood is largely unchanged from before. The other two subjects showed essentially no change before or after consumption of the marinated cooked pork.
FIGURE 4. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, before consuming a marinated cooked pork chop. RBCs are freely moving. Very few platelet aggregates are seen. This blood appears normal and healthy.
FIGURE 5. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, five hours after consuming a marinated cooked pork chop. RBCs are mostly free to move, although there are a few small aggregates. This blood appears normal and healthy with little change compared to Figure 4.
FIGURE 6. Microphotograph of blood of female, 37, before consuming uncured pastured bacon. This is the picture of completely normal, healthy blood.
Figure 6 shows the blood of the female subject, age thirty-seven, fasted, prior to consuming four strips of uncured pastured bacon. Again, this subject’s blood is normal and healthy, without any RBC aggregates or fibrin. Figure 7 shows the blood of the same subject, five hours after consuming the bacon. The subject’s RBCs are not aggregated there is only a minuscule amount of platelet aggregates and fibrin. This blood is essentially unchanged over baseline. The other two subjects’ blood samples also appear about the same, before and after consumption of bacon, too.
Figure 8 shows the blood of a subject, male, fifty-two, prior to consumption of prosciutto. This blood looks normal and healthy, with several platelet aggregates shown, and a white blood cell is also seen. Figure 9 shows the blood of the same subject about five hours after consuming three ounces of pastured prosciutto. Again, this blood looks normal and healthy, about the same as the subject’s initial blood test that same day. Moreover, the blood of the other two subjects also did not change significantly pre-post eating prosciutto.
FIGURE 7. Microphotograph of blood of female, 37, five hours after consuming uncured pastured bacon. RBCs are free to move. This blood appears normal without any clotting factors seen.
As an additional control, we also looked for an effect from consuming an unmarinated, pastured lamb chop on the blood of the same three subjects. The blood of the female subject, age thirty-seven, prior to eating the lamb chop is shown in Figure 10. Her blood is seen as normal, healthy blood with a few platelet aggregates. About five hours after consuming the lamb chop, her blood appears as shown in Figure 11, which is about the same as the pre-lamb condition. Moreover, the blood of the other two subjects did not show any significant changes after consuming lamb either.
FIGURE 8. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, before consuming proscuitto. RBCs are free to move. This blood appears normal and healthy with several platelet aggregates and a white blood cell present.
FIGURE 9. Microphotograph of blood of male, 52, five hours after consuming proscuitto. This blood appears normal and healthy. There is no apparent change over the initial blood test, as shown in Figure 8.
FIGURE 10. Microphotograph of blood of female, 37, before consuming an unmarinated cooked lamb chop. This blood appears normal and healthy with only a few platelet aggregates.
FIGURE 11. Microphotograph of blood of female, 37, five hours after consuming an unmarinated cooked lamb chop. This blood appears normal and healthy with only a few platelet aggregates. No changes are observed over the sample shown in Figure 10.
Let’s Compare These to Roundup
How Roundup works: Unlike vinegar or salt, which are topical, glyphosate is systemic. That means it is absorbed into, and travels throughout, the whole plant, even down to the roots.
Effectiveness: It is often more effective on mature and perennial weeds with robust root systems. But beware, because it is systemic, if a little drop gets onto another plant, Roundup will kill this too. (A stray drop of vinegar on a desirable neighboring plant will cause some browning, but probably not kill it.)
Environmental impact: As you might imagine, there are two camps on this.
An article by Weed Control Freaks, a self-described group of “Wyoming Weed Scientists,” analyzed the relative mammalian toxicity values of vinegar, salt, and glyphosate (a.k.a. how much of each chemical would result in a 50% kill rate for rats and rabbits). By this comparison it takes more glyphosate to kill a lot of rats and rabbits, which results in a lower toxicity value. Their main point was that in large doses almost any chemical can be considered toxic, while in the small amounts (like you might use in your garden) the toxicity of Roundup is negligible.
Furthermore, the Weed Control Freaks study pointed out that if you are trying not to use Roundup because it is owned by Monsanto, you should be aware that many commercial vinegars are made from corn which has been genetically modified and treated with, you guessed it, glyphosate. In other words, if you want to your DIY herbicide to be truly good for Mother Earth, you need to use an organic, non-GMO-verified vinegar in your recipe.
However, the Weed Control Freaks article did not address the potential toxicity of glyphosate on insects, particularly bees. According to a study published by The National Company of Biotechnology Information, “field-realistic” doses of glyphosate, “has longterm negative consequences on [honeybee] colony performances.” Another study by Environmental Health Perspectives determined that glyphosate is “toxic to human placental cells.” For me, the nail in the coffin for Roundup was this article by GMO Awareness, which sites many studies linking the herbicide to tumors and higher birth defects, not to mention the creation of glyphosate-resistant, super weeds. The EPA is currently conducting studies that test the toxicity and efficacy of highly concentrated vinegar as an agricultural herbicide.
What to know about gargling with salt water
Sore throats and mouth sores are common conditions that most people experience. Saltwater gargles can be a cheap, safe, and effective way to ease pain and relieve symptoms from conditions that affect the mouth and throat.
While pharmacies and other stores sell medicated mouthwashes and similar products, some people prefer saltwater gargles and other home remedies.
In this article, we discuss what saltwater gargles are and what conditions they can help treat and prevent. We also cover how to make and use a saltwater gargle, as well as risks and considerations.
Saltwater gargles can be effective for treating mild pain, discomfort, and tickles in the mouth and throat. We discuss some of the conditions that saltwater gargles can help treat and prevent below.
Saltwater gargles can be an effective way to relieve discomfort from sore throats.
Both the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommend gargling with salt water to soothe sore throats. According to the ACS, regular use of saltwater gargles can help keep the mouth clean and prevent infections, particularly in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Canker sores are painful ulcers that can develop in the mouth. Gargling with salt water may help ease pain and promote healing of the sores.
Some allergies, such as hay fever, can cause a person’s nasal passages and throat to swell, which can be uncomfortable. Though gargling with salt water will not prevent the allergy, it may help alleviate some of the throat discomfort.
Share on Pinterest Gargling with salt water may help relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
Upper respiratory infections are typical and include common colds, the flu, mononucleosis, and sinus infections. Some research suggests that gargling with salt water can alleviate symptoms and even help prevent upper respiratory infections.
For example, a study from 2013 involving 338 participants found that those who gargled with salt water were less likely to have upper respiratory infections.
Regularly gargling with salt water can assist in removing bacteria from the gums, which helps in cleaning and preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar. A buildup of bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that people gently rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution after having a dental procedure. Doing this can help keep the extraction site clean and prevent infection.mm
A saltwater gargle is a home remedy for sore throats and other causes of mouth pain. Saltwater solutions are a simple mix of water and table salt and can be a cheap, safe, and effective alternative to medicated mouthwashes.
Saltwater solutions are not well studied. A small study from 2010 of 45 children investigated the effectiveness of a saline saltwater gargle and a mouthwash containing alum.
The researchers reported that children who used one of the saltwater gargles twice daily for 21 days had significantly reduced levels of mouth bacteria, compared with children who used a placebo.
However, the saltwater gargle was not as effective at reducing bacteria as the alum mouthwash. Alum, which is potassium aluminum sulfate, is an active ingredient in some medicated mouthwashes.
Doctors and dentists often recommend saltwater gargles to help alleviate mouth and throat pain.
Salt water may kill some, but does not kill all, mouth and throat bacteria. However, solutions of salt can help bring bacteria to the surface of the gums, teeth, and throat. Once the bacteria is brought to the surface, some of it washes away when a person spits the salt water out.
Saltwater gargles are easy and cheap to make. The ADA recommend adding half of a teaspoon (tsp) of salt to 8 ounces of warm water, then mixing until they are combined.
An alternative recipe involves adding baking soda to the saltwater solution. For example, the ACS recommend combining the following to make a saltwater gargle: