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An Explanation of Free Radicals and How Antioxidant Supplements Can Help

Even if you don’t completely understand the concept of “free radicals” – it’s easy to understand that you don’t want them. In basic terms, free radicals can be described as “a chemically unstable molecule in a cell that has an unpaired electron, rendering it highly reactive.” Why are free radicals not good for your body? In many cases, free radicals attack the DNA cells in your body, which cause the otherwise normal cells to not function properly.

How Do Free Radicals Get Into Our Bodies?
There are many theories about free radicals and how they make their way into the body. Many believe that free radicals exist as a part of the normal aging process. However, an increase in free radicals can be a result of eating unhealthy foods, not exercising regularly, living in a highly polluted environment, being exposed to chemicals and radiation, and a host of other factors. Unfortunately, too many free radicals in the body can lead to many different types of health problems, some of which include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other debilitating ailments.

Can We Eliminate Free Radicals?
No matter how healthy your lifestyle and eating habits, there may not be a way to completely eliminate free radicals from your body – especially the free radicals that are present due to the normal aging process. While the human body does have a natural defense mechanism, called antioxidants, to combat free radicals, it is virtually impossible for humans to naturally eliminate all of the body’s free radicals without antioxidant supplements.

Supplemental Antioxidants
There are many supplemental antioxidants on the market that can help your body maintain its health. An example of a highly regarded Antioxidant supplement is Multimmunity, which has a patented formula that is based on ground breaking antioxidant science. However, there are many antioxidant supplements from which to choose, so make sure to discuss antioxidant supplements with your physician before starting any program.

Foods Rich in Antioxidants
The benefits of eating foods rich in antioxidants is tremendous. Following are examples of foods that are recommended to boost the body’s natural antioxidant level:

Small red beans (dried), wild blueberries, red kidney beans (dried), pinto beans, blueberries (cultivated), cranberries, artichoke (cooked), blackberries, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, red delicious apples, granny smith apples, pecans, sweet cherries, black plums, russet potatoes (cooked), black beans (dried), plums, gala apples.

Protect Your Heart With Antioxidant Supplements
If antioxidant supplements are known to help prevent the onset and/or progression of cardiovascular diseases, it makes sense to learn more about them. Make sure to discuss the many benefits of antioxidant supplements with your physician at your next appointment. Taking supplements might be the best way to encourage your body to fight the free radicals that exist in your body.

The post An Explanation of Free Radicals and How Antioxidant Supplements Can Help appeared first on Boone Heart Institute | Preventive Cardiology | Denver, Colorado.

Enjoy a Healthier Life Through Gardening

Gardening is healthy for your heart due to more than one reason! Not only does gardening allow you to grow fruits and vegetables in your own backyard or in a community garden, but the act of gardening is great source of physical fitness. To help promote the health benefits of gardening, the American Heart Association is now offering a new online Gardening Community for gardening enthusiasts to connect, share information, and learn to live healthier. But if you don’t consider yourself a “gardening enthusiast” don’t turn away… the community welcomes gardeners of all ages and skill levels. It’s meant to be a venue for learning about gardening, sharing about gardening experiences, and promoting gardening ideas.

The goal of the American Heart Association is to teach and encourage Americans to improve their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Part of the American Heart Association’s initiative involves various educational and advocacy programs that help and encourage individuals to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle – and this can be accomplished, in part, via garden-based nutrition programs and learning the health benefits of gardening as a whole.

According to the American Heart Association’s Gardening Community website, the following are a few of the reasons the gardening community exists:

  • Nearly one in three American children are overweight or obese.
  • Fewer than one in 10 high school students receive the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • French fries are the most common source of vegetables consumed by children and make up one-fourth of their vegetable intake.

The Gardening Community Website is FREE!
Free to use the Gardening Community website is extensive and encourages users to start a garden chat, meet other gardeners, and find gardening resources. Additionally, users have the capability of posting gardening-related questions in order to spark a conversations about a specific topic, and post photos and videos of their gardening efforts.

Topics of discussion on the Gardening Community website include (but are not limited to) various types of gardens, gardening in different types of environments (e.g. urban areas), how to design a garden, which types of fruits and vegetables grow well in particular climates, and optimal methods for growing. Teachers who are participating in the American Heart Association’s Teaching Garden can use the Gardening Community website to discuss lesson plans, share recipes that work well for young students, and provide other tips for getting children excited and involved in gardening.

The American Heart Association’s Gardening Community is just one of the helpful and educational programs sponsored by the American Heart Association. With a goal of fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, the American Heart Association has more than 22 million volunteers and supporters all dedicated to promoting the cause of the organization.

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Register TODAY for an Upcoming FREE EveryHeart Foundation Cardiovascular Screening

Now is the time to pay attention to your high school student’s heart! If your child is a high school athlete, it’s important to register him or her for an EveryHeart Foundation cardiovascular screening during the month of August. Why? Because numerous high school athletes in America pass away from undiagnosed heart problems each year – and many of the deaths could have been prevented.

Registration is Easy, Free, and Screenings are Completed in Less Than an Hour

During the month of August, screenings will take place at the following locations:

August 5th – 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Cherokee Trail High School
August 6th – 7:30 am – 1:00 pm – Smokey Hill High School
August 7th – 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Grandview High School
August 8th – 7:30 am – 4:00 pm – Cherry Creek High School

Each screening includes the following:

• Echocardiography – This test allows us to look for: Enlarged Hearts, Holes, Leaky Valves, Muscle Stiffness
• EKG – This test allows us to look for: Cardiac Arrhythmia, Inflammation, Abnormal Blood Vessels
• Blood Pressure Assessment – This test allows us to look for: Blood Pressure, Abnormal Stress Response

Click HERE To Register Today!

The EveryHeart Foundation
It’s the mission of the EveryHeart Foundation to help reduce the number of deaths among high school athletes in the United States who have undetected or preventable cardiovascular disease. Our goal is to help ensure that high school athletes are able to pursue their athletic dreams by participating in their sport with the knowledge that their hearts are healthy and up for the cardiovascular challenge that their sport demands.
A Few Facts to Consider:
• Sudden Cardiac Death is the leading cause of death on school property
• Competitive athletes have three times the normal risk of sudden cardiac arrest
• Only 3% of these deaths occur in those with normal hearts and many deaths are detectable and preventable

EveryHeart Screenings are Completely Free
If your child participates in high school athletics, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from registering him or her for an upcoming EveryHeart Foundation cardiovascular screening. Our screenings are entirely free, and funded by donations. Heart screenings are incredibly beneficial and our medical partners, who are among the most experienced and efficient in the country, believe in the incredible importance of the potentially life-saving heart screenings offered by the EveryHeart Foundation.

At the EveryHeart Foundation, we believe that Every Heart matters. Your high school athlete has the “Heart of a Champion.” Now it’s time to protect it!

If your student is unable to attend one of the free cardiovascular screenings offered this month, make sure to check EveryHeart.org for future screening dates and times.


The post Register TODAY for an Upcoming FREE EveryHeart Foundation Cardiovascular Screening appeared first on Boone Heart Institute | Preventive Cardiology | Denver, Colorado.

Should Children Undergo Regular Cholesterol Screenings?

iStock_000008235598LargeIt’s not uncommon for adults to be concerned about cholesterol. In fact, many adults get their cholesterol levels screened each year as part of routine annual exams with their physicians. When high cholesterol is detected, adults are usually told to change their diet and/or to take medication in an attempt to lower their cholesterol levels.

This is how the American Heart Association describes cholesterol and how it’s detected: “Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood. It has to be transported to and from the cells by carriers called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is known as “bad” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is known as “good” cholesterol. These two types of lipids, along with triglycerides and Lp(a) cholesterol, make up your total cholesterol count, which can be determined through a blood test.”

Despite the fact that most adults are aware of the importance of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, they rarely spend time thinking about the potential dangers for their children that are associated with unhealthy cholesterol levels. In the past, most pediatricians did not discuss cholesterol with parents at their children’s annual “well visit” exams. But in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) endorsed a new set of guidelines that promote checking LDL cholesterol levels in children ages 9 to 11. The guidelines discuss the following facts:

  • While cardiovascular disease is rare in children, risk factors present in childhood can increase the likelihood a child will develop heart disease as an adult.
  • New guidelines will give health care providers an integrated road map to address all the major cardiovascular risk factors as part of children’s annual well visits.
  • The new guidelines recommend ways to prevent the development of cardiovascular risk factors and to optimize cardiovascular health starting with breast feeding and by the age of one year, following a diet low in saturated fat.
  • Universal screening will more accurately identify children who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease and will emphasize the importance of follow-up by their pediatricians.
  • Most children with high cholesterol would be encouraged to practice lifestyle modifications, including a low-fat diet and sufficient physical activity. For children with high blood pressure, the DASH diet is recommended.

What is All of This Really About?
The purpose of the guidelines endorsed by the AAP are not to scare either parents or children. Rather, the guidelines are intended to encourage parents (and teach children) to eat healthy food, to avoid over-indulging at restaurants, to understand the difference between healthy and non-healthy food choices, to get adequate exercise, and to learn how to live an overall healthy lifestyle.

The EveryHeart Foundation
The Boone Heart Institute is the EveryHeart Foundation’s primary medical partner. The mission of the EveryHeart Foundation is to reduce cardiovascular disease in young Americans through advanced diagnostic testing, comprehensive education, and ground-breaking research. One of the main goals of the EveryHeart foundation is to promote early detection of cardiovascular disease as well as to raise awareness and to provide insight into this ever-growing problem that plagues today’s youth. Support the EveryHeart Foundation by making a donation today!

The post Should Children Undergo Regular Cholesterol Screenings? appeared first on Boone Heart Institute | Preventive Cardiology | Denver, Colorado.

Running and your heart.

BolderBoulderWe were recently at BolderBoulder, speaking with runners who swung by our booth. Many asked us about their heart and if they are at more risk because of their running routines. A recent blog post in the NY Times, by Gretchen Reynolds, discussed a new study of marathon runners and their non-running spouses. The study results should reassure anyone headed for a marathon that prolonged training doesn’t damage the heart, a concern that has been raised in previous research.

At the same time, becoming fit as a marathoner doesn’t seem to protect the heart to the extent you might expect, although it may have unexpected benefits for your spouse.

While we all know that exercise is healthy, some research has begun to raise questions about whether it’s possible to overdo a good thing. A few studies have found that long-time endurance athletes can have a heightened risk for abnormal heartbeats, and even for scarring of the heart muscle. Likewise, experiments with lab animals have found possible links between prolonged, extremely strenuous running and undesirable changes in the structure and function of the heart. But the actual incidence of runners having a heart attack during a marathon race is small, a finding that seems to suggest that marathon training can’t be excessively hard on hearts or there would be greater, obvious consequences.

Such inconsistencies in the data about prolonged endurance exercise and heart health prompted researchers to wonder if perhaps past studies were inaccurate. It’s difficult to isolate the risks associated with strenuous exercise from other lifestyle factors, said Beth Taylor, an assistant professor in the health sciences department at the University of Hartford who led the new study, which was published last month in BMJ Open.

Runners whose hearts seemed to have been affected by their exercise habits might also have smoked, eaten unhealthy food or otherwise imperiled their hearts, separately from how much they worked out. So, Dr. Taylor and her colleagues decided to better control for such factors by studying marathon runners along with their domestic partners, who presumably would be sharing their lifestyles if not their physical exertions.

If cardiac health differed among these couples, the scientists felt, they could reasonably conclude that training had played a role, since so many lifestyle factors would be the same. With that idea in mind, Dr. Taylor and her colleagues contacted a slew of runners who had qualified and signed up for the 2012 Boston Marathon, inquired if they had non-running spouses or partners, and asked if both would be willing to have their hearts scanned and cardiovascular disease risk assessed. Forty-two of the runners said yes, along with their spouses or partners. Half of the runners were women. Their ages ranged from 33 to 59, although most were in their mid- to late 40s.

Their partners were around the same age but considerably less active, averaging fewer than two sessions of moderate exercise per week. Many did not formally exercise at all, although most reported frequently walking, gardening or undertaking other types of moderate activity. The day before the 2012 race, the racers and their partners visited a makeshift lab next door to the race expo, where they filled out questionnaires about their exercise and health histories. Scientists then drew blood to determine the volunteers’ cholesterol and triglyceride profiles and measured their height, weight, pulse rate, blood pressure and other vital signs. Finally, each volunteer underwent a noninvasive heart scan to reveal the buildup of arterial plaques, an indication of heart disease. Not surprisingly, the marathon runners were significantly thinner than their partners, although few of the partners were overweight.

The runners also generally had lower blood pressure, heart rates, bad cholesterol and other indicators of cardiac health. But running did not insulate the racers altogether from heart disease, the scientists found. Some of the racers, particularly the oldest ones, carried large deposits of plaques in their arteries, a worrying sign. These older racers also tended to have the highest tallies on a numerical assessment of heart attack risk called the Framingham risk score, which considers medical and lifestyle factors that, along with genetics, can contribute to the development of atherosclerotic plaques. In essence, the scans showed that marathon training did not cancel out the depredations of age, longstanding bad health habits or a family history of cardiac problems, Dr. Taylor said.On the other hand, the scientists found no relationship between the number of hours the runners trained or how fast they ran and the levels of plaque in their arteries, indicating that marathon training had not directly damaged any of these racers’ hearts.

Over all, Dr. Taylor said, the study’s data suggests that if you’re training for a marathon or otherwise doing frequent and prolonged endurance exercise, you’re probably not hurting your heart and are likely strengthening it. But you should be aware of your past health habits and family history and monitor any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, that could be a sign of potential heart troubles. Perhaps the more surprising takeaway of the study, Dr. Taylor said, is that marathon training’s cardiac benefits may be transferable. “The spouses of the runners were quite healthy, too,” she pointed out. More so than many people, they walked and moved around frequently, and had generally robust cardiac risk profiles. Dr. Taylor’s conclusion: if you want improved heart health but can’t be a runner, marry one.

The post Running and your heart. appeared first on Boone Heart Institute | Preventive Cardiology | Denver, Colorado.

How to Tell if You’re Living a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

heart healthyYou’d be surprised how many people think they are living a heart-healthy lifestyle when they really are not. Many people do not realize that their un-heart-healthy habits are slowly but surely resulting in an increased risk for heart disease and/or stroke. But don’t fret… it’s never too late to break bad habits and turn them into good ones. There are varying opinions on how long it takes a person to stop a bad habit and/or start a good one – but rest assured both can be accomplished with a little bit of effort.

Following are a few tips to help promote a heart-healthy lifestyle:

Exercise. According to the American Heart Association, every person should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five times per week, or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week (or a combination of the two).

Stop Smoking. There is absolutely no disputing the fact that smoking is not healthy for a person’s heart. It increases the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and many other ailments.

Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating a healthy diet is one of the easiest ways to prevent the development of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet can be accomplished by anyone – regardless of your food budget or where you live.

Lose Weight. It doesn’t matter if you are five pounds overweight or if you should lose 50 pounds or more. All levels of weight loss can result in benefits to your heart and vascular system.

Turn off the TV. Turning off the television does not mean you’re not allowed to watch television at all! It simply means that instead of watching television for several hours in a row, periodically turn off the set and take a walk, do housework, or go somewhere that requires physical movement.

Reduce your level of stress. The American Heart Association states that even though stress itself might not be directly related to heart disease, “stress may affect behaviors and factors that are proven to increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and  cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating.”

Take your medicine on schedule. If you are supposed to take prescribed medication to help with heart disease or any other medical ailment, make sure to take your medication on time and on schedule. If you have concerns about the medication you are taking, make sure to call your doctor immediately – but do not stop taking your medication without your doctor’s recommendation. Abruptly stopping some types of medication can lead to health-related complications.

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is not difficult but it may require making some subtle changes to your daily routine. No matter if you have heart disease risk factors or not, a heart-healthy lifestyle results in your feeling healthier and more energetic – and it also promotes a positive outlook on life.

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Are You an “Apple” or a “Pear” Shape? Your Waistline Really DOES Matter!

apple-body-typeThere have been countless research studies that try to predict a person’s likelihood of developing various diseases and/or medical conditions. In the past, researchers believed that a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was a true indicator of impending heart health risks. However, based on results of recent studies, it’s probable that the overall measurement of a person’s waist may have a more direct correlation to heart health – possibly even more so than the person’s BMI.

Is This Information about Waist Size Actually Helpful?
Even if you are considered a “normal” weight (e.g. not overweight or obese), your risk of developing heart disease is increased if your waist size is more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Typically, individuals whose bodies store fat in their mid-sections are referred to as apple- shaped, and those that store fat in their hips are pear- shaped. If you are apple- shaped, it is especially important that you pay attention to the risks – and even more so if you also have a high BMI, because the combination of a large waist size and a high BMI may put you at the highest possible risk.

What’s the Big Deal About Fat Around the Waist?
There are two types of fat. One type is called subcutaneous and the other is called visceral . Subcutaneous fat appears as dimples under the skin – which is commonly referred to as cellulite. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is a dangerous type of fat because it can surround your vital organs and render you more susceptible to heart disease and other life-threatening conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Visceral fat is what shows up around the abdominal area – and causes a person to be labeled as “apple shaped.”

How to Reduce Your Risk
If your body type can be described as an apple, there are many ways to reduce your heart disease risk factors – and the most obvious is weight loss. Even a small reduction in the size of your waistline will help. It’s important to remember that many people who are normally classified as thin can still have an apple -shaped body – – and this is not healthy.

What are the Best Ways to Reduce the Size of Your Waistline?
Many weight loss programs that have proven successful for countless individuals include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutrisystem. However, adhering to such programs is not the only way to lose weight and develop a healthier body. For example, limiting the amount of sugar (specifically high fructose) in your diet will result in a healthier body and possibly weight loss. In fact, restricting your diet to healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low fat choices, as well as severely limiting your intake of sugars, fats and carbohydrates will result in a healthier body. Additionally, exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and reduce the size of your waistline.

The post Are You an “Apple” or a “Pear” Shape? Your Waistline Really DOES Matter! appeared first on Boone Heart Institute | Preventive Cardiology | Denver, Colorado.

Is Heart Disease Genetic?

Is heart disease hereditary?Many people mistakenly believe that if they do not have a family history of heart disease they are not at risk of experiencing cardiovascular health issues at any point in their lives. The truth is that heart disease can be caused by many different factors, and genetics is just one of them. Therefore, the answer to the question, “Is heart disease genetic?” is: “It can be.”

Possibly more important that a genetic disposition to heart disease is whether or not you consistently live a healthy lifestyle. In other words, it’s possible to have strong family history of heart disease, but you may be able to drastically reduce your propensity to develop cardiovascular problems by maintaining a low risk lifestyle and by keeping your body at a healthy weight, eating a balanced and healthy diet, refraining from smoking and significant alcohol consumption, and leading a relatively stress-free life.

A Healthy Lifestyle is the Most Important Factor
There is little doubt that heredity plays a role in the likelihood that you will develop the same type of heart disease as your mother, father or close relative(s) – if you live a similar lifestyle to that person/people. On the other hand, studies have shown that being proactive about living a healthy lifestyle has more impact on a person’s propensity to develop heart disease than genetic factors. All genetic risk factors for heart disease cannot be completely eliminated by leading a healthy lifestyle, but they can be drastically reduced.

Almost Everyone in My Family Has Suffered from a Heart Attack, a Stroke, or Another Type of Heart Disease
It’s incredibly important to be aware of your family’s health history and be educated on the most common ailments suffered by members of your family. But you should not use the information as a definitive precursor for your own future. If your family suffers from a high incidence of heart disease and stroke, that information can be used as a wake-up call that you must pay very close attention to your own lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise regimen. In other words, just because your mother, father, brother and sister suffer from heart disease does not mean you are destined to the same fate if you choose to do something about it.

Pay Attention to Your Health When You’re Young
The sooner you are aware of a genetic predisposition for heart disease, the earlier you can begin to take the necessary steps to ensure you will not follow the same path. A person is never too young to adopt a healthy lifestyle – which includes eating a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise, and not smoking. Additionally, regular cholesterol and blood pressure checks are advisable so that any indication of impending health issues can be detected early and potentially stopped or reversed before they become problematic.


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Tips on Ordering Heart Healthy Food at Restaurants

Going out to eat is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience, not a miserable one. The thought of sticking to a heart-healthy diet while eating at a restaurant might seem not only impossible, but also uninteresting. However, there are many tactics that will help you order heart-healthy food at restaurants and allow you to enjoy the experience with just a small bit of sacrifice.

When people eat at restaurants, they often use the experience as an excuse to order and eat anything and everything that looks appealing. They adopt the “if I don’t know the exact ingredients used to make this food, it can’t hurt me” attitude. In such situations, people can inadvertently consume countless calories and enormous amounts of fat. While it’s acceptable to indulge at restaurants every so often, it’s not heart-healthy to dine out this way on a regular basis.

Many restaurants offer heart-healthy choices that are easy to spot on a menu. But some restaurants don’t have a separate menu category for healthy dishes. In such situations it’s important to know how to identify heart-healthy options so you know what to order.

Tips for Ordering Heart-Healthy Selections at Restaurants:

Skip the soda. Have you ever heard the term “empty calories?” If anything fits the definition of empty calories, it’s soda. And the diet variety isn’t necessarily heart-healthy either – even if it doesn’t have any calories. Instead, drink water, fat-free milk, or tea (without sweetener).

Ask for dressing and sauces on the side. You might think you’re being healthy by ordering a salad, but salads that are dripping in salad dressing may actually be more unhealthy than many other choices on the menu. Salad dressing can be extremely high in fat and calories. The same is true for foods that are smothered in sauces and gravies.

Avoid “all you can eat” buffet restaurants. Nobody needs to eat three plates of fried chicken, an unlimited bowl of mashed potatoes, or countless pieces of bread at one meal (not to mention all of the other food that’s ready and waiting for you on a buffet counter.) Buffet-style restaurants are fine for a special occasion, but this type of restaurant encourages overeating of unhealthy foods.

Just say no to dessert. If you absolutely must indulge in dessert because it’s your birthday or you are celebrating another special occasion, select something that contains fresh fruit or a choice that you can share with others at the table. Remember: Heart-healthy refers to items that are as low in calories, fats, and sugars as possible. If you like to drink coffee after a meal at restaurants, avoid adding excessive cream and sugar to your cup.

There is no need to deprive yourself of eating out with your family or friends simply because you want to stay on a heart-healthy diet. Similarly, it’s important to remember that eating at a restaurant is not an excuse to consume just anything you see on the menu. Sticking to a heart-healthy diet requires knowledge and will-power – both of which are entirely possible with a small amount of effort.

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Low or No-Salt Diets – Are they Healthier than High-Salt Diets?

no-saltYou’ve probably heard it a million times: “There’s too much salt in your diet!” Diets that are high in salt have been linked to an increased risk for heart attacks and/or strokes because a diet that is high in salt can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise which is a trigger for the development of various cardiovascular problems. But as surprising as it might sound, a diet that is too low in salt is not necessarily a healthy alternative. In other words, diets extremely high in salt and diets that are extremely low in salt may be equally dangerous. Consequently, a diet that includes a balanced level of salt should be the goal of healthy people.

Human beings need a certain amount of salt (or “sodium”) in their diets in order to remain healthy. However, it’s difficult to throw out a specific number of milligrams of salt that every person should include in a daily diet because everyone is different. For example, not every person’s body reacts to sodium in the same way. Individuals with hypertension and other risk factors should consume less salt on a daily basis than people in perfect health – but nobody should be eating a diet that is extremely high in salt or one that is completely salt-free.

According to the United States Center for Disease Control, “Americans consume too much sodium. High sodium consumption raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the nation’s first and fourth leading causes of death.”

There is certainly considerable evidence that a diet high in salt can potentially lead to blood-pressure-related cardiovascular disease, and there is little doubt that people who consume too much salt should lower their sodium intake. However, there is also data to suggest that a diet that is devoid of salt altogether can be just as dangerous.

The bottom line is that diets too high or too low in just about anything are not optimal. It’s important to find a safe and healthy balance when it comes to salt and as well as other vitamins and minerals. In the United States, most food products that are processed and pre-packaged as well as foods that are sold in many restaurants (especially the fast food variety) contain very high levels of salt. In light of this information, it would be difficult for most people to completely eliminate salt from their diets.

If you are considering a diet that is either devoid of salt or low in salt, it’s important to discuss your ideas with a physician. Make absolutely sure the diet is considered safe, and also that it is  recommended for you and your specific circumstance.



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