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How good for your health is cutting salt from your diet?

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Scientists have calculated that cutting salt consumption by around a quarter could halve the number of deaths from sodium-induced heart disease, according to a study conducted in a part of China with a well-above-average number of deaths linked to high-salt diets, South China Morning Post wrote.

The study, the first to try to quantify what the impact of reducing salt consumption by a defined amount would be, was conducted in the eastern province of Shandong.

It found that nearly a fifth of deaths from heart disease in the province, one of China’s most populous, could be attributed to a high-sodium diet compared with a global average of 9.5 percent.

 

Shandong’s cuisine is characterized by high levels of sodium, which has long been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers estimated that cutting salt consumption from 12.5 grams per day to nine grams, it could have almost halved the number of adult deaths from heart disease linked to high-sodium diets over the study period based on its effect on blood pressure.

The study, led by scientists at China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, was published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers analyzed health data such as blood pressure values from about 13,000 adults aged 25 to 69 in Shandong in 2011.

They also measured sodium intake using 24-hour urine excretions from 1,769 adults in the province. After comparing such data with the death rates for the province, they found that nearly 20 percent of cardiovascular disease deaths, or 16,100, could be attributed to salty diets for the year of 2011.

Of the 16,100 deaths, about 5,600 were caused by ischemic heart disease – which causes oxygen shortages in cells – and 9,000 were strokes, two of the most common illnesses caused by elevated blood pressures.

“The burden of cardiovascular disease attributable to a high sodium diet is extreme but preventable,” said Shiwei Liu, co-author of the study and epidemiology professor at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. “Reducing salt intake is urgently recommended.”

“Sodium intake is high in China, mainly from home cooking, eating out and pickled foods, especially in parts of northern China such as Shandong province,” Liu said.

According to official statistics, the coastal province had a population of 96 million in 2011, almost 45 percent more than that of the Britain in the same year.

Health authorities in the province and central government are working to tackle the problem and since 2011 have been campaigning to lower salt intakes among Shandong residents.

Under the program, called Shandong Ministry of Health Action on Sodium and Hypertension (Smash), the food industry has been urged to lower the amount of salt in its products and a public education campaign has tried to alert the public to the risks from a high-sodium diet.

The average salt consumption is about six percent more than the Chinese national average of 11.9 grams, according to officials.

The World Health Organization recommends adults to limit salt intake to under five grams per day, while the US Department of Health and Human Services said the daily salt intake should be no greater than 5.8 grams.

“Most people consume too much salt – on average nine to 12 grams per day, or about twice the recommended maximum level of intake,” the WHO said.


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Health

Reasons Why You Should Start Your Day With Ginger

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Ginger is often used to add extra flavour to your tea. Ayurveda advises using ginger for various medicinal purposes. It has a strong taste and aroma which makes it can an appropriate element for your cup of tea. But you can add a change to your morning by adding ginger to it. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and something like ginger which is loaded with health benefits can make your breakfast healthier. Adding it your tea is the easiest way to consume ginger but you can also try other methods to consume ginger as well. Here are 5 reasons why you should add ginger to your morning routine.

Health benefits of ginger

  1. Aids in weight loss

Ginger can help you control your appetite. If you consume ginger every morning you will experience reduced urge to eat. The best way to consume ginger for weight loss is ginger water. To male ginger water, you need to boil cups of water first. Then add at least two slices of ginger to it. Boil it for some time and later strain the mixture. You can drink it both hot and cold according to your preference. Consumption of ginger water every morning will regulate blood sugar levels as well.

 
  1. Better hair and skin health

Regular consumption of ginger water every morning can help you achieve flawless hair and skin. Ditch all the chemical loaded products for skin and hair and switch to ginger. The antioxidants and the vitamins present in ginger are beneficial for both hair and skin. It will also ensure better protection against skin infections and diseases.

  1. Improves gut health

You can say goodbye to all your digestive disorders with ginger. Adding ginger to your breakfast will give you a strong digestive system. It will give you relief from indigestion, nausea and heartburn. You can prepare ginger water for better digestion as well. To enhance its taste and benefits simply add mint, lemon juice and one teaspoon honey to it.

  1. Reduces inflammation

Ginger is popularly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Staring your day with ginger regularly will result in reduces inflammation for long term. Arthritis patients can add ginger to their breakfast without giving a second thought. You will also notice relief from other body pains and swelling.

  1. Better cholesterol levels

Ginger can manage your cholesterol levels as well. Increase in bad cholesterol can trigger the risk of various chronic diseases. It is extremely bad for your heart health. You can reduce your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels with ginger.

You can experiment various methods to use ginger in the morning. You can prepare ginger tea, ginger jam, ginger smoothie or can simply add it to your soup.

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Health

Testosterone replacement therapy can rise stroke risk in men

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Aging men with low testosterone levels who take testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) are at a greater risk of experiencing an ischemic stroke or a cardiac arrest, especially during the first two years of use, warn researchers.

Published in The American Journal of Medicine, the findings confirm concerns voiced by many health agencies about the potential risks associated with the treatment.

“Our findings show that the use of TRT was associated with an increased risk of stroke, transient ischemic attack or cardiac arrest during the first two years of use,” said Christel Renoux of McGill University in Canada.

 

According to researchers, there is a limited evidence on the long-term clinical benefits of TRT to effectively treat the modestly declining levels of endogenous testosterone levels of aging but healthy men.

“We strongly recommend that clinicians proceed with caution when considering prescribing TRT and first discuss both the potential benefits and risks with patients,” Renoux said.

The study analysed a large database of electronic medical records of patients enrolled in primary care practices in the UK and formed a cohort of 15,401 men, aged 45 years or older, with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism).

Users of TRT had a 21% greater risk of cardiovascular events compared with non-users, corresponding to an additional 128 events.

The increased risk appears to be transient, declining after two years of TRT use, which the investigators attribute to a phenomenon called “depletion of susceptible.”

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Health

High intensity interval training can improve health

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An international research team has now found that bringing the science of high intensity interval training (HIIT) into everyday life could be the key to helping unfit, overweight people get more of the exercise they need to improve their health.

According to experts, from washing the car to climbing stairs or carrying groceries, each of these activities is an opportunity for short sharp bursts of ‘High Intensity Incidental Physical Activity’, HIIPA for short.

Speaking about it, study author Emmanuel Stamatakis said, “Regular incidental activity that gets you huffing and puffing even for a few seconds has great promise for health.”

 

In a study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Stamatakis and colleagues argue that when considering differences in physical capabilities by age, sex and weight, many daily tasks can be classified as ‘high intensity’ physical activity. That is, the kind of activity that gets you out of breath enough to boost your fitness.

According to them, including these kinds of activities into routines a few times a day will see significant health benefits for the majority of adults.

Professor Stamatakis added, “There is a lot of research telling us that any type of HIIT, irrespective of the duration and number of repetitions is one of the most effective ways to rapidly improve fitness and cardiovascular health and HIIPA works on the same idea.”

According to study authors the time commitment for HIIPA is close to zero minutes per day, and people could save even more time if their HIIPA involves brief walking sprints, or taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift. Furthermore, other practical advantages are nil costs, no need for equipment and no concerns about a lack of skill or fitness.

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