HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
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When you think of sodium, salt probably comes to mind. Although the two terms, “sodium” and “salt” are often used interchangeably, they are different substances. The chemical name for salt, sodium chloride, reveals that sodium is in fact a component of salt. By weight, salt is composed of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. One teaspoon of salt weighs 5 grams and contains about 2,300 milligrams of sodium. Sodium is essential for life and for good health. It is a mineral that the body cannot manufacture itself so it must be supplied by food. Sodium is readily available from various sources—foods that contain sodium naturally, foods containing salt and other sodium-containing ingredients, and from salt added to foods during cooking and at the table. As a component of salt, sodium’s most recognized role is to make foods more flavorful. Less well-known, yet important roles of sodium-containing ingredients include helping to preserve foods, improving the texture of foods, and ensuring the safety of some foods.
Compared to other minerals, the human body needs sodium in relatively large amounts. Yet, much of the world’s population consumes more than the body’s minimum requirement for sodium. In some individuals, research suggests a link between high sodium and salt intake and high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. However, this relationship may be affected by concurrent intake of other key minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Regulating sodium intake is also believed to be important in preventing and treating other health conditions.
How much salt should you eat to maintain normal sodium levels? Most sodium comes from table salt and canned and pre-prepared foods. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, adult Americans average 4–5 grams (4,000–5,000 mg) of sodium per day. However, you only need about one tenth of that (500 mg) to meet the body's requirements. Total daily sodium intake should not exceed 2400 mg. Are the sodium requirements the same for men and women? Here are the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for sodium for adults (both men and women), children, and infants:
- Adults: 500mg
- Children: 400 mg
- Infants: 120-200 mg.
What happens when Sodium intake is too high? For "salt-sensitive" people, blood pressure will increase in direct proportion to increases in sodium intake. About 60% of adults with high blood pressure are salt sensitive. Blood pressure above 120 systolic/80 diastolic is high. In countries where sodium intake is low, there is less hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Excess sodium may also weaken the bones by promoting calcium excretion.
What happens when Sodium intake is too low? Sodium deficiency is extremely rare. The kidneys conserve and release sodium as needed to maintain fluid balance. The amount of sodium lost in a day, as urine and sweat, equals the amount of sodium eaten in the diet. Which foods are high in Sodium? Foods in their natural state have very little sodium. Fast foods and processed foods are highest in sodium. Processed foods include snack foods, deli items, bakery products, canned foods, and prepared foods like salad dressings, and spaghetti sauce. Table salt, soy sauce and other condiments are high in sodium. Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Indeed, one in four people eats fast food fare every day in America, collectively racking up sales of $144 billion per year—up from $3 billion in 1972. The truth is, while no one was looking, a fast-food industrial complex grew up in the national back yard! Meanwhile, a lot of people are starving these days, not for calories of course but for nutrients. For example:
- The Jack In The Box Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger has 1,020 calories (63 percent from fat), 26 grams of saturated fat, 210 mg. of cholesterol, and 1,740 mg. of sodium.
- Burger King Deluxe Double Bacon Cheeseburger—I kid you not—with mayo, tomato, on bun, showed the following: 988 calories (nearly half an average persons requirement over the course of an entire day) 65 grams of fat (edging up to twice the amount a person should have for an entire day) 25 grams of saturated fat (about twice the amount a person should have for an entire day) 194 mg. of cholesterol (the human body needs exactly zero cholesterol from food, although the USDA "allows" 300 mg. per day so people can, within the agency's guidelines, eat any animal-based foods at all, because animal-based foods are the only source for cholesterol; plant foods are devoid of cholesterol) 1,698 mg. of sodium (74 percent of the upper limit the USDA allows in the day)!!
Sodium is an important element in both food and health. It plays various roles in food as a component of salt and other ingredients,such as enhancing flavor of foods, assisting in food preservation and safety, and helping to improving the texture, tenderness, and stability of foods. For life and good health, sodium is an essential mineral that the body requires in adequate amounts. Adequate amounts of sodium are easy to obtain from food. However, most people in the U.S. and in most countries around the world consume more dietary sodium than is recommended, which may be associated with adverse health effects, especially when combined with other factors such as obesity and deficiencies of key minerals.
The study of dietary sodium and health in recent years has improved the understanding of the dietary sodium-blood pressure relationship.As a result, there is wider consensus that limiting sodium intake is beneficial for many people. Most health experts believe that excess sodium contributes to development of disease in susceptible people. Additionally, reducing sodium intake as part of an overall calorie-controlled diet that is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium appears to be an effective dietary strategy in the treatment of high blood pressure. Further study and identification of a practical method for predicting salt sensitivity in individuals will offer more precise guidelines for modifying sodium intake.
For more information on sodium and health: http://ific.org/publications/reviews/sodiumir.cfm
June [Father's Day] Recipes - Click Here
This month's recipes are celebrating Dad and all that he does so we're cooking up a meal that is fit for a king!! Starting this month, we are asking our readers to look through your cookbooks and if you find any bbq recipes that you'd like to share with everyone for the Fourth of July, send them in!! We will be honoring our courageous soldiers with a bang-up barbecue menu that will set off any fireworks you can conjure! Be sure to put your name and where you're from and send the recipes, and a picture if possible, to email@example.com and we'll be sure to print as many as possible. Thanks and Happy Father's Day to all!!!
Weight Loss Surgery can be scary words or they can be words of hope. Most SSBBWs have thought of or had someone mention weight loss surgery. It's obviously not for everyone. There are SSBBWs who have accepted that they are large and always will be. There are some who like being large and don't want to change. And there are others who live day to day with pain, both physical and emotional, of carrying the extra weight that have various reasons for wanting to do something about it.
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