Balita Midweek, Wed. - Fri., May 5 -7, 2010
Women and men process salt diff erentlyHEALTH & BEAUTY
NO two people are the same when it comes to salt in the diet. Studies around the world have repeatedly shown that, regardless of total calories consumed, men consume significantly more salt than women do.
There are many salt reduction advocates who forecast that if Americans drop all salt consumption, hundreds of thousands of deaths from cardiovascular disease will be prevented annually in addition to saving billions of dollars in health care costs. They base this solely on salt’s role in maintaining blood pressure.
The medical authorities claim that we only require 500 mg sodium per day, based upon the amount of salt lost throughout the day. Knowing that no one can eat so little salt, the general advice is Americans should consume between 1,500 to 2,300mg sodium per day.
Policymakers have focused on the processed food industry to reduce the salt content of foods to help Americans keep their sodium consumption to the recom- mended limits.
According to a study in the Journal of Chronic Diseases, when salt in the diet is significantly reduced, about 30 percent of the population experiences a tiny reduction in blood pressure, 20 percent will actually experience a small increase in blood pres- sure and the remaining 50 percent will show no effect at all.
When the entire population is con- sidered as a single homogeneous mass, individual genetic, physical, gender and cultural differences are ignored and result- ing policies end up benefiting some while harming others.
Depending on where in the world you live, women consume 800 to 1,500 mg less sodium per day than men do. In the U.S., this difference amounts to about 1,160 mg less sodium per day. While the plasma concentration of men and women are identical, men consume and excrete far more salt than women do.
The salt content of processed foods
doesn’t account for this since the amount of processed foods in the diet varies sig- nificantly around the world and men and women eat from the same food supply. Can salt have specific physiological functions beyond maintaining blood pressure? Studies have shown that pregnant wom- en with a decreased salt intake give birth to low-weight babies who have a signifi- cantly increased salt appetite throughout their lives.
Low salt intakes also stimulate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system causing a cascade of potential negative consequences including metabolic syn- drome and diabetes.
Additional risk of hyponatremia can lead to decreased stress management, im- paired sleep function, cognitive disorders and, in the elderly, falls, unsteadiness and attention deficits. To learn more about salt and health, go to www.salthealth.org
Although the specific risks associated with a population-wide policy on salt re- duction will vary, women will not respond equally to men because no policy can su- persede the biology of gender differences. This means women can be at a greater risk of health concerns if statistics don’t take gender into consideration. (ARAcontent) ■
Create a “home safe home”
All parents want to keep their kids safe from any potential dangers, so updating your home with a variety of home safety products – for both your new arrival and yourself – is a good idea. While the standard items such as socket plugs and baby gates are must-haves, many parents don’t think of bath safety. And, according to the Home Safety Council, falls are the leading cause (66 percent) of all nonfatal home injuries – with the bathroom being a main culprit due to water and slick surfaces. Getting into and out of the tub and shower can be difficult for little ones. And, as your “baby bump” continues to grow, the shift in your center of gravity can make you more susceptible to slips and falls. Permanent grab bars, such as SecureMount Grab Bars from Home Care by Moen, are an ideal solution, offering an easy, secure install in a variety of styles and finishes to beautifully coordinate with the rest of the bathroom. Or, for an even easier (and more temporary) installation, try a new Suction Balance Assist Bar, which attaches to any smooth, flat surface using high-strength suction cups. And, once you are in safely, consider adding a tub and shower seat to ensure that your bath time is accident free.
Stock up on essentials
Believe it or not, you’ll probably go through more than 70 diapers and 200 wipes
per week. And, once your bundle of joy arrives, you’ll want to focus your attention on her (or sleep) – not on shopping – so stock up now. In addition to diapering es- sentials, be sure to supply your medicine cabinet with infant acetaminophen, gas drops, diaper rash cream and a thermometer. And, it’s not a bad idea to fill your freezer full of pre-made dinners so you don’t have to worry about cooking in those first few hectic weeks when you’re still recuperating. (ARAContent) ■
Five ways to boost your parenting confidence before the baby arrives
BECOMING a new parent can be a scary process. There is so much to learn and no easy way to practice until your new bundle of joy arrives. Luckily, there are easy ways that you can prepare yourself – and your home – to give you peace of mind and be able to enjoy the time with your new baby.
Become well read
Build up your ‘momfi dence’
Whether you choose lighthearted, comical selections, such as Jenny McCarthy’s “Belly Laughs,” or more informative choices, such as “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” there is a wealth of books to get you educated, ready and even enter- tained. So, kick up your (swollen) feet and start reading. Seek out similar situations
Whether you are having your first child, or wondering what life will be like hav- ing your second, third or more, seek out other parents who share a similar lifestyle. Talking with others to get their opinions on how to cope with siblings, working and other common life situations will help give you insight and better prepare you for life’s new addition.
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