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Too much Salt & not enough Potassium, increases your risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death

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Foodfacts.com looks into the recent study of the harms of having to much salt intake in your diet and to little amounts of potassium. Earlier studies had found an association between high blood pressure and high levels of salt consumption and low levels of potassium intake. The combination of high salt — sometimes called sodium — and low potassium appears to convey a stronger risk for cardiovascular disease and death than each mineral alone, the study authors said.

“The combination of high sodium and low potassium is really a double whammy for cardiovascular risk and for mortality,” said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although sodium and potassium act independently, high potassium levels can counteract some of the effect of high sodium, Hu said. “But the adverse effects of high sodium cannot be completely offset by a high potassium diet,” he said.

For the study, published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hu’s team collected data on 12,267 people who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, from 1988-2006. In addition to mortality data, this survey contains dietary information.

To find out the role of salt and potassium and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers looked at the levels of these minerals and the ratio between them. Over an average of 14.8 years of follow-up, 2,270 people died. Of these, 825 died from cardiovascular disease — which includes stroke — and 443 died of heart disease.

After taking into account variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, weight, high blood pressure, education and physical activity, Hu’s group found that high salt intake was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, while high potassium intake was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying.

What’s more, high salt consumption coupled with low potassium intake was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart disease, the researchers added.

“We should continue to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet, especially in processed foods,” Hu said. “We should also promote high consumption of potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables,” he added. “Those things should go hand-in-hand.”

While the study uncovered an association between heart disease and the two minerals, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.

Commenting on the study, Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said, “The findings are not surprising to me.”

The benefits of potassium to counterbalance the effects of salt for controlling high blood pressure have been known for years, but get little attention, Sandon said. “There have been hints in the past research literature that the ratio of the two may be more important than the nutrients individually,” she said.

Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with better heart health, Sandon said. “Fruits and vegetables are your best natural sources of potassium and they are naturally low in sodium,” she explained.

“I agree with the authors that more emphasis should be put on the importance of getting more potassium while lowering sodium intake,” Sandon said.

“The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet does just that and has been around for quite some time now,” she stated. “It encourages people to eat more foods high in potassium (fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) while eating less sodium-laden foods.”

Sandon noted that this is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake while lowering intake of foods high in sodium.

Those guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) for most people, and to less than 1,500 milligrams for people 51 or older, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, regardless of their age.

Information provided by Health Day

7 Anti-Aging Superfoods

Foodfacts.com looks into 7 super foods that can help prevent aging, Can you add years to your life by making smarter food choices? Yes! There are many variables involved in how long you live, but by following a healthy lifestyle, staying active and eating a nutrient-packed diet, you can help slow the aging process and perhaps even stave off age-related diseases, including osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.

Start right now by including more of these 7 antioxidant-rich foods to your diet. We’ve included interesting facts and delicious EatingWell recipes for healthy aging. Here’s to your good health!

OLIVE OIL

Four decades ago, researchers from the Seven Countries Study concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.

YOGURTyogurt

In the 1970s, Soviet Georgia was rumored to have more centenarians per capita than any other country. Reports at the time claimed that the secret of their long lives was yogurt, a food ubiquitous in their diets. While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proven directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis and contains “good bacteria” that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.

FISH

Thirty years ago, researchers began to study why the native Inuits of Alaska were remarkably free of heart disease. The reason, scientists now think, is the extraordinary amount of fish they consume. Fish is an abundant source of omega-3 fats, which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.

CHOCOLATE

The Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason? The Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, which is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.

NUTS

Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists (a religious denomination that emphasizes healthy living and a vegetarian diet) show that those who eat nuts gain, on average, an extra two and a half years. Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They’re also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.

WINE

Drinking alcohol in moderation protects against heart disease, diabetes and age-related memory loss. Any kind of alcoholic beverage seems to provide such benefits, but red wine has been the focus of much of the research. Red wine contains resveratrol, a compound that likely contributes to its benefits—and, according to animal studies, may activate genes that slow cellular aging.

blueberriesBLUEBERRIES

In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in “rat lives” is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

Article provided by: Eatingwell.com

Aspartame Detoxification Program

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Foodfacts.com looks into the Aspartame Detoxification Program. Aspartame is the common denominator for over 92 different health symptoms at the root of modern disease. The Aspartame Detoxification Program demonstrates the most effective way to reverse disease symptoms is removing the underlying cause – aspartame.

Some nutritionists and physicians who have counseled aspartame victims worldwide have witnessed nine out of 10 clients restore their health by following an Aspartame Detoxification Program. Begin with detoxifying your body of all residual chemical toxins from aspartame’s chemical make up of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol and their toxic by-products, and see if any adverse health symptoms remain. Some claim that, by trying the Aspartame Detoxification Program, within 30 days your symptoms should disappear.

Steps:

1. Remove all sugar-free products with aspartame from your diet.
2. Learn to “read” your body. Begin recording any health changes.
3. Get a hair analysis.
4. Be happy with yourself.
5. Detoxify.
6. Restore depleted nutrients.
7. Exercise and get plenty of rest.
8. Eat 75% raw foods at every meal.
9. Drink water, water, water.
10. Get control of your life.

This Ten Step Program is alleged to help protect your health and the health of those you love from being seduced by the sugar-free diet craze.

What can you do about aspartame side effects?

Set an example by changing your diet.

• Tell everyone you know.
• Talk to the schools and day care centers. Offer to speak at parent-teachers meetings.
• Contact your local, state, and Federal government representatives.
• If you see someone with a diet drink, ask if they have had any of the typical aspartame side effects.
• Spread the word at your work.
• Tell your doctor about the scientific research available proving the negative side effects of aspartame.
• Register a complaint with the FDA, the FAA, the NutraSweet Company about aspartame poisoning.
• Return all food products with aspartame, opened or unopened, to your grocer. Tell him/her the products make you sick. The grocer can return them to the manufacturer for a store refund.
• Spread the word on computer networks.
• Publish articles in newsletters at your church, place of work, or neighborhood association.
• Set a personal example for health and wellness.

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Azodicarbonamide: What Do You Know and Why You Should Care?

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial ingredients manufacturers are putting into your foods. Let’s look into the relatively little-known ingredient called Azodicarbonamide. If you enjoy eating bread, donuts, subs and bread-related products while eating out, perhaps you should read this.

Online research indicates that azodicarbonamide is used in the food industry as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and improving agent. It reacts with moist flour as an oxidizing agent. The main reaction product is biurea (not urea), which is stable during baking. Secondary reaction products include semicarbazide and ethyl carbamate.

The United States allows azodicarbonamide to be added to flour at levels up to 45 ppm. Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia and in Europe. In Singapore, the use of azodicarbonamide can result in up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine of $450,000.

The principal use of Azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ammonia gases which are trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed article. Common examples of this application are window and door gaskets, padded floor mats, gym/exercise mats, and shoe soles.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation.”

Azodicarbonamide may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to other azo compounds (such as food dyes). The consumption of azodicarbonamide may also heighten an allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food.

One of America’s largest fast food chains uses azodicarbonamide extensively in their breads, and a well-known donut chain uses it in their cooking and preparation of donuts.

In connection with food safety, it has wrongly been claimed that azodicarbonamide is completely decomposed into common, harmless substances during baking, either into urea or (alternatively) into gasses (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and ammonia) Toxicological studies of the reactions of azodicarbonamide show that it is rapidly converted to biurea in dough, which is a stable compound not decomposed upon cooking.

Do you know what’s in your Taco??

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Foodfacts.com takes a closer look at what’s really in a some Taco Bell products. By simply looking at the Nachos Bell Grande at Taco Bell, some would think there are maybe 5 or 6 ingredients. There’s the sour cream, layers of nacho cheese, mountain of tortilla chips, some tomatoes, little bit of chive, and topped off with ground beef. In reality, this menu item contains about 125 ingredients; some of which aren’t ideal, and may possibly cause some hazardous health effects. At Food Facts we like to point out these controversial ingredients and help consumers become more aware of what’s REALLY in their food.

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Let’s start off with autolyzed yeast extract, because many people may be unfamiliar with this ingredient, and coincidentally it is in all three featured products. This ingredient naturally contains glutamic acid, a flavor enhancer. Therefore, most types of yeast extract are used as food additives to help give flavor to different products. In autolyzed yeast extract, sodium chloride is added during the fermentation process to create monosodium glutamate, commonly referred to as MSG.

Most consumers are very familiar with MSG because it has received a great deal of attention in recent years. This ingredient can be found in salad dressings, mixed seasonings, snacks, chips, beef stocks, and much more. With the increased popularity of this product, came increased reports of migraine headaches, dizziness, nausea, and so on. In fact, all the symptoms of MSG can be categorized as “MSG Symptom Complex”, because there is a large variety of symptoms that may occur. Also, some people may also have intolerance to MSG, so be careful to check food labels for monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, and other hidden MSG forms.

The Burrito Supreme at Taco Bell is another menu-favorite. Aside from this item providing a hefty dose of the recommended daily value for sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol; it also contains a variety of controversial ingredients you may not be aware of. burrito-supremeThe one ingredient some may be curious about is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ. Not only is this ingredient a mouth-full, it is also a phenol used as a food additive to enhance storage life of different products. Although deemed safe by the FDA, certain studies have shown that high doses of TBHQ are not only carcinogenic, but may also cause damage to DNA and promote growth of tumors. Make sure to read food labels carefully for this food additive.

Crunchy tacos are a staple for the Taco Bell franchise. Although these more basic items contain less controversial ingredients, they still include hidden MSG and TBHQ. taco-bell-beefTheir nutrition label also displays high amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, which consumers should carefully monitor when eating at any fast-food restaurant.