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PositiveTip for

Set Down That Salt Shaker

CDC reports one in 9 children (8-17 years) has high blood pressure.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 90% of U.S. school children consume too much sodium each day. It may come as a surprise that only 10 common foods contribute 40% of the sodium eaten by children. Check out the great resources and infographics to help your family be sodium wise. Remember, healthy eating starts in the home.

PositiveTip: Make healthy eating a "team sport" for the whole family so each member can benefit.

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Sodium and Your Arteries

Less salt may keep your arteries more flexible

Arteries tend to stiffen after age 30 and can increase risk of heart attack, stroke and memory loss because they can’t dilate (widen) when increased blood volume is necessary. Australian researchers studied 25 overweight or obese subjects with normal blood pressure and found those on a diet with lower sodium levels (2600 mg/day) had arteries that could dilate more than those on a diet with normal sodium levels (3600 mg/day).

PositiveTip: Choose to pass over the salt at mealtime and select low-sodium foods.

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Salt Reduction Makes an Impact in the U.K.

While still too high, the English are benefitting from lower salt consumption.

Between 2003 and 2011 stroke deaths in the U.K. decreased 42% (P<0.001) and ischemic heart disease fell by 40% (P<0.001). During the same time salt intake decreased by 1.4 g/day (P<0.01) measured by 24-hour urinary sodium. The findings of this 8-year study appear to support a key role for lower salt intake. Despite this progress, the 2011 average salt intake in England (8.1 g/day) is still 35% higher than the recommended 6 g/day.

PositiveTip: Make intentional efforts to eat less salty foods!

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Modest Salt Reduction Lowers BP

Modest salt restriction significantly reduces stroke and heart attack risk.

A systematic literature review found that modestly reducing salt intake was associated with an average blood pressure reduction of 4.18/2.06 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic). This reduction from the current average daily salt intake of 9-12 grams to 5-6 grams results in a significant (P<0.001) benefit to blood pressure, and in turn reduces risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.

PositiveTip: Think twice before grabbing the salt shaker! Ask: have you tasted the food and does it really need more?

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A Picture is Worth 2000+ Calories!

Do people really eat these meals?

It is hard to believe the meals that some people eat! To stroke your nutritional pride, take a look at the pictures and nutritional information put together on appallingly unhealthy meals at 22 Words. If you are still hungry--and your conscience allows--you can trip on down to your local chain outlet and get one--but please don't!

PositiveTip: It is a major challenge to eat out, and still eat healthy! Wise choices at the local grocery store may be your best bet when traveling.

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Cravings for Salt May Begin in the Cradle

Early exposure to sodium may set the stage for a lifetime of salty desires.

Do you love to lick salt from the surface of foods? That desire may have started in infancy. Babies either dislike or are indifferent to salt when born. In a small, observational study, researchers have found that exposure to starchy table foods such as ready-to-eat cereals (a significant source of dietary sodium at this age) in the early months tended to prefer salty solutions over water by 6 months of age. When those who ate starchy foods as babies were retested as preschoolers, they were more likely to seek salt.

PositiveTip: Avoid adding starchy foods to an infants diet until after 6 months. This may help avoid a lifetime love for salty foods.

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Diabetics Benefit from Salt Restriction

Cutting salt intake lowers blood pressure in diabetics.

Most cardiovascular disease risk for diabetes is linked with hypertension (high blood pressure). Researchers conducted a meta-analysis comparing high and low salt intakes. They found that restricting the amount of salt significantly reduced blood pressure, similar to the effect of single medication prescription.

PositiveTip: Public health guidelines recommend reducing salt intake to no more than one level teaspoon per day from all sources. Diabetics can greatly benefit from these restrictions too. 

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The War on Salt Heats Up

The majority of today's salt intake comes from restaurant and processed foods.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the amount of sodium added to foods.

A new IOM report has concluded that public health and education programs have failed to cut American's salt intake, and therefore the FDA should incrementally cut down the sodium content of the food supply in a way that goes unnoticed by most consumers.

PositiveTip: Start adjusting your taste sensors for salt by cutting back on processed foods and passing up the salt shaker! You might be surprised at how quickly you adjust.

Cure High Blood Pressure with Diet and Exercise

I like really big population studies. The conclusions reached are valid and extremely accurate. Small studies with few participants are subject to many types of bias. The results of small studies are often debatable and not dependable.

The second Nurses’ Health Study enrolled 83,882 adult women 27-44 years of age. At the beginning of the study in 1991, all these women had normal blood pressure, (systolic 120 or less and diastolic 80 or less), and no diabetes, heart disease or cancer. These women were followed for 14 years through 2005. During the study, 12, 319 women developed high blood pressure and the rest didn’t.

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Hold the Salt to Lower Health Care Costs!

Modest reductions in dietary salt could save 92,000 lives per year and save $24 billion!

Dietary salt intake in the U.S. in on the rise, in spite of more and more evidence linking salt intake to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Reducing salt intake by a modest 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) per day per person is projected to annually reduce new cases of coronary heart disease by up to 120,000, stroke by up to 66,000, and heart attacks by up to 99,000. This in turn could save up to $24 billion each year in health care costs.

PositiveTip: The majority of dietary salt in the U.S. comes from processed foods. Stop subtracting years from your life by cutting back on these foods.