Monday, May 30, 2011

Low salt diets increase heart attacks

Ever wonder if everything you thought you knew about health is wrong?

It looks like the conventional wisdom against salt could be wrong. Which is good for salt lovers like me.

I discovered Celtic Sea Salt last year and enjoy it's large crunchy grains every day.

The producers say it helps to replenish the body's electrolytes, provides renewed energy, provides resistance to infections, and supplies all 82 vital trace minerals.

I just love the taste, crunch and gourmet look of this natural grey salt.

Selina Naturally - Celtic Sea Salt Bag Light Grey Course - 5 lb.Sea Salt)

NY Times story: A new study found that low-salt diets increase the risk of death from heart attacks and strokes and do not prevent high blood pressure.

It included 3,681 middle-aged Europeans who did not have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease and followed them for an average of 7.9 years.

The researchers assessed the participants’ sodium consumption at the study’s start and at its conclusion by measuring the amount of sodium excreted in urine over a 24-hour period. All the sodium that is consumed is excreted in urine within a day, so this method is the most precise way to determine sodium consumption.

The investigators found that the less salt people ate, the more likely they were to die of heart disease — 50 people in the lowest third of salt consumption (2.5 grams of sodium per day) died during the study as compared with 24 in the medium group (3.9 grams of sodium per day) and 10 in the highest salt consumption group (6.0 grams of sodium per day). And while those eating the most salt had, on average, a slight increase in systolic blood pressure — a 1.71-millimeter increase in pressure for each 2.5-gram increase in sodium per day — they were no more likely to develop hypertension.

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension” with lower sodium consumption, said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, “this study shows it does not work.”

Dr. Michael Alderman, a blood pressure researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, said medical literature on salt and health effects was inconsistent. But, Dr. Alderman said, the new study is not the only one to find adverse effects of low-sodium diets. His own study, with people who had high blood pressure, found that those who ate the least salt were most likely to die.

Lowering salt consumption, Dr. Alderman said, has consequences beyond blood pressure. It also, for example, increases insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of heart disease.

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Top 10 list: How I lost 75lbs in 12 months

A lot of friends ask me what I did to lose weight and get in shape. Here's my top ten list:

1. Stop eating carbs. They are making us fat. The fewer you eat, the faster you lose. Cut carbs and hunger vanishes. If you are counting, less than 20g a day is awesome.

2. Exercise everyday. Start with walking and lifting, work up to running, biking, swimming, take a class or a lesson, mix it up and have fun. My favorite is racquetball.

3. Set goals, especially a fitness goal a few months out. For me, it started with a 5k. While working out, visualize yourself achieving the goals you set.

4. Eat breakfast everyday, and within 30 minutes of waking up. Always have protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat three to five small meals a day. I love to eat. I’m eating right now!

5. Eat good food every day. Eat eggs, fish, nuts, berries, green veggies, tomatoes and avocados often.

6. Lift heavy. Heavy lifting will help build the muscle you need to burn fat. Hit the weight room once or twice a week and lift weights heavy enough that you max out at 7-10 reps. Do one set and move on.

7. Keep a log. Write down what you eat and how you exercise. Weigh yourself every morning, but remember that weight loss comes by the week, not the day. Measure your progress in inches, pounds, blood tests, body fat, speed and distance.

8. Take your vitamins. Be sure you get a multivitamin, plenty of fish oil and vitamin D.

9. Sleep 8 hours every night.

10. Read to stay focused on your plan and get inspired. I recommend:

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human DietWeight Loss Diet Books)

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming SuperhumanHealth, Mind & Body Books)

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Defense of Food

I'm really enjoying the book "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan on this Memorial Day Weekend.

He writes this "eater's manifesto" from the perspective that we all need to be eating more real food, not the pre-packaged, fast-food variety.

The book's motto is "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

The author writes without a bias toward any particular diet, but comes to conclude that the industrial food complex is leaving us over fed and under nourished.

His top rules:
1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

2. Avoid 'food products' in general.

3. Beware of foods that make health claims on their package (hint: they are packaged!)

4. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket: meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, dairy.

5. Better yet, shop at farmer's markets, subscribe to a local community supported agriculture farm share and grow some of your own.

This book really confirms my own journey toward fresh foods and away from industrial foods.

It makes me think ahead toward each meal and try to figure out how I can incorporate more whole foods into my lifestyle.

Check it out:
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

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