Friday, June 19, 2015

Are Low-Salt Foods Available In Grocery Stores?

Salt, or more precisely sodium, is required by human body to help nerves and muscles function correctly. It also plays an important part in fluid balance (regulation of water content).

However, consuming too much salt can raise the risk of hypertension as well as cardiovascular (heart disease and stroke). In 2006, a study from the University of Helsinki even linked sodium intake to obesity.

One third of American adults have hypertension, and at least a quarter of those cases are affected by sodium intake. More than two-thirds of American adults and nearly one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese.

A recent study by CDC (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicated that it is difficult to find low-sodium food in grocery stores. The new findings, which were published in the journal ‘Preventing Chronic Disease’, could explain why more than 90 percent of American adults consume more than the recommended daily amount of sodium.

Fewer than half of packaged grocery-store products in most food categories were found to meet Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for being labeled as a healthy food, according to the researchers from CDC.

More than 70 percent of pizzas, pasta mixed dishes, and meat mixed dishes, and 50 percent to 70 percent of cold cuts, soups, and sandwiches exceeded FDA’s healthy labeling standards for sodium, whereas less than 10 percent of breads, savory snacks, and cheeses did.

The researchers looked at all sales in 2009 from grocery stores in 3 United States Census regions: the South Atlantic, East North Central, and Pacific. In all 3 divisions, 50 percent or more of products sold in most food categories exceeded the sodium-per-serving conditions for a healthy food.

FDA allows food manufacturers label food as healthy only if the food contains less than 480 milligrams of sodium in a single serving of individual foods such as bread, or less than 600 milligrams in a main dish meal.

It is clear that most of the salt that Americans eat is hidden in processed foods such as bread. In fact, bread is the single biggest source of sodium in the American diet because people eat so much of it.

Data found in the study also supports recent findings that meeting sodium recommendations might be difficult in the current food environment because many of the top-selling packaged food products in each region were national brands, regional variation in sodium content of available products may be limited.

Public is, therefore, advised to get fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables since unprocessed food rarely contains much sodium. If one wants to buy packaged food, he or she should spend some time reading the label and should try choosing a lower sodium option.

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Is Dietary Guidelines Important For Heart Disease Prevention?

According to the experts, Americans have very bad food choices and eat too little vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber and consume too much fat and salt. And these bad eating habits are making people sick. New recommendations reaffirm the 2010 guidelines: eat more vegetables, less fat and salt and to exercise more with some key differences. Find out more at:

Friday, June 12, 2015

How To Differentiate Heartburn From Heart Attack?

Heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that is caused by gastric acid flowing backwards into the oesophagus. It often occurs after eating and gets worse after bending over or lying down. It is also common in pregnant women, and might be triggered by consuming food in large quantities, or specific foods containing certain spices, high fat content, or high acid content.

During heartburn, there will be a burning feeling in the chest, just behind the breastbone or in the epigastrium, the upper central abdomen. The pain usually rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw. Often, there is a sour taste in the mouth or a feeling of food being stuck in the throat.

Heart attack, on the other hand, happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart could not get oxygen. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. Heart attack occurs as a result of coronary heart disease, and it can be associated with or lead to severe health problems like heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias.

Victims of heart attack can have symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort, feeling pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach, and shortness of breath. They can have other symptoms like breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired for no reason, nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting, and light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Clearly, heartburn and chest pain or a heart attack can feel very similar. It is not easy to differentiate heartburn from heart attack just based on a medical history and physical examination.

In a group of people presenting to a hospital with GERD symptoms, only 0.6 percent might be due to ischemic heart disease. Up to 30 percent of chest pain patients who have undergone cardiac catheterization have findings that do not account for their chest discomfort. They are often defined as having atypical chest pain or chest pain of undetermined cause. According to data recorded in several studies based on ambulatory pH and pressure monitoring, it is estimated that between 25 percent and 50 percent of these patients have evidence of abnormal GERD.

As a rule of thumb, if a person has symptoms of a heartburn that is accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath, radiation of the pain to the arm or back, giddiness or cold sweats, he or she should seek help from a doctor immediately. He or she might be victim of heart attack, especially if he or she has risk factors for coronary heart disease such as hypercholesterolemia or the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood, hypertension, diabetes, smoking and family history of heart disease.

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Creamy Food Can Make One Fat?

There are artificial emulsifiers that are commercially made, some of which have a chemical structure similar to detergent, according to researchers from Georgia State University, Cornell University, and Bar Ilan University in Israel. Evidence was found in their study that at least some commercial emulsifiers might mess up the balance of good germs in the gut. More details at:

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Should Cup Cake Be Banned At Schools?

Childhood obesity has become a major health problem. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obese children are at a higher risk of having risk factors for cardiovascular disease like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Obese children are likely to be obese as adults and are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. Hence, childhood obesity is surely a legitimate concern for society.

Since July 1, 2014, schools in the United States can no longer sell unhealthy food in cafeterias or vending machines, or at school-sponsored events like bake sales and fundraisers. Such move follows a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandate to replace unhealthy food and drink options with more nutritious options for kids and teens.

The USDA standards, however, do not regulate treats brought from home. Such decisions are usually left up to individual districts and schools. Anyway, some elementary schools across the country have launched and many others might follow suit to launch bans on edible birthday sweet treats like cupcakes that are brought from home. The schools stressed that the cupcake decision is only part of a broader health program to fight obesity.

As sugar enters human body, a portion of it will be burnt for energy that is required by the body. The remaining amount of sugar, if available, will be converted to fat and store it in the fat cells. Therefore, eating too much sweet treats like cup cakes, ice cream and soda can raise the risk of being overweight or even obese especially for the kids. On particular days, students could have as many as 3 birthday parties. Each cupcake might contain as many as 298 calories.

Despite the objections from some parents, the cupcake bans are welcome by most parents as it is healthier for kids, it puts less stress on parents to provide dessert for the entire class, and it provides peace of mind to parents of children with allergies.

While the entire food environment of the school matters, some health experts feel that it is equally important for parents to be consistent about nutritional values at home. Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity can actually reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing related diseases.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Is Heart Disease Treated?

Once people are diagnosed with heart disease, their doctors would present them with several treatment options. If the blockage in the heart arteries were not serious, perhaps making lifestyle changes and taking medications would help. However, if the blockages in the heart arteries… Find out more at: