Joy Bauer https://joybauer.com Life is hard, food should be easy Tue, 16 Aug 2016 18:06:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 Salt Substitutes: Are They Safe? https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/salt-substitutes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=salt-substitutes Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:56:35 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1044 What are the pros and cons of using salt substitutes as a way to lower sodium intake?

The post Salt Substitutes: Are They Safe? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Discover the pros and cons of using salt substitutes on your food. They may help lower your sodium intake, but are they safe for you?

Q: I’m watching my sodium intake because I have high blood pressure. Is it safe for me to use salt substitutes instead?

A: Yes, probably. However, some salt substitutes are composed of “potassium chloride” (instead of sodium chloride, which is found in regular salt), and extra potassium can be problematic for people who have kidney problems or those who are taking certain medications (such as potassium-sparing diuretics and other common blood pressure medications). Always speak with your physician before sprinkling this type of salt substitute on your food.

Other salt substitutes (such as Mrs. Dash) do not contain potassium chloride. These products are simply salt-free blends of different herbs and seasonings that add flavor to your food. Salt-free seasoning blends that do not contain potassium chloride are safe for everyone to enjoy (if your physician has instructed you to limit your potassium intake, always double-check the ingredients list to make sure there is no added potassium chloride, just to be sure).

You can also experiment with other herbs, spices, and seasonings such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder (not garlic salt), onion powder (not onion salt), cumin, smoked paprika, celery seed (not celery salt), curry powder, wasabi powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, dill, cilantro, thyme, sage, basil, tarragon, chives, lemon and lime juice and zest, wine, flavored vinegars, and extracts (vanilla, almond, etc.).

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

The post Salt Substitutes: Are They Safe? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Kosher Salt and Sea Salt https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/kosher-salt-and-sea-salt/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kosher-salt-and-sea-salt Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:50:17 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1036 Are they a better bet than table salt if you're worried about your blood pressure?

The post Kosher Salt and Sea Salt appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Are they a better bet than table salt if you’re worried about your blood pressure?

Q: I heard that kosher salt and sea salt are much healthier than regular table salt. Is that true?

A: It depends. By weight, all three — kosher, sea, and table salt — contain the same amount of sodium. However, kosher salt has a coarser grain than fine table salt, which means that it contains less sodium by volume. In other words, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt yields less sodium than 1 teaspoon of table salt. (The larger granules of kosher salt can’t clump together as closely as the fine ones do.) So, when you’re measuring volume amounts for recipes, you’ll automatically reduce the sodium content if you make the switch to kosher salt. Sea salt offers the same benefit as kosher salt only if it’s a coarse-grained variety. On the other hand, “fine grain” sea salts have the same high sodium content as traditional table salt and therefore don’t offer any health advantage.

Nowadays, manufacturers are adding sea salt to potato chips, canned soups, and other packaged foods — probably to make the products seem healthier and more natural. But really it’s the amount of salt they’re adding, not the type, that’s important for health purposes. So don’t be swayed by tricky marketing; always check the Nutrition Facts panel to determine the sodium content per serving.


Discover more Food Cures for your health.

The post Kosher Salt and Sea Salt appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Hypertension 101: What is high blood pressure? https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/about-high-blood-pressure/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=about-high-blood-pressure Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:31:06 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1029 Your blood pressure is one of the most important measures of heart health.

The post Hypertension 101: What is high blood pressure? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Blood pressure is one of the most important measures of heart health. Learn what it means when your numbers are high and what you can do to bring them down.

Because blood has to travel so far through the body, blood vessels come in various sizes. Your body’s circulatory system encompasses everything from the thick arteries and veins that branch off from the heart to the small capillaries that feed the tiniest, most distant parts of your body. Healthy blood vessels are flexible and strong, capable of containing the pulsing pressure of rushing blood, heartbeat after heartbeat, year after year, for a lifetime. We’d like to think that they’re durable too, but the reality is that vessels are relatively fragile.

What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure. As the heart contracts to pump blood through the arteries, the force of that rushing blood against the vessel walls is called systolic blood pressure. As the heart relaxes between beats, the blood presses less forcefully against the vessel walls, reflected in your diastolic blood pressure. When you go to the doctor, your blood pressure is given in two numbers: systolic pressure over diastolic pressure, measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Physicians recommend that you maintain blood pressure at or below 120/80 mmHg, but high blood pressure is medically defined as any reading higher than 140/90 mmHg. Readings of 121 to 139 systolic or 81 to 89 diastolic are considered prehypertension, a warning that blood pressure may soon rise into the danger zone. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of disease, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and other blood-vessel disorders. That’s because when blood pressure is higher than normal, it pummels the delicate lining of blood vessels.

Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause structural damage and inflammation. In addition, high blood pressure can trigger a condition called atherosclerosis — the formation of plaque, a fatty substance that builds up on the inside of the vessels, making them narrower and less flexible, and choking the blood supply to every part of the body. Mind you, these narrow vessels must still carry the same amount of blood as they did when they were healthy, which only adds to the pressure the vessel walls must bear. So high blood pressure is a risk factor for even higher blood pressure.That’s why blood pressure problems never really go away — once you have damage from high blood pressure, you’ll have to fight to control it forever.

I Have High Blood Pressure — Now What?
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor has probably already told you the basics. You can control your blood pressure by:

 

A Word About Metabolic Syndrome

Hypertension is a major risk for heart disease, but it’s not the only one. Other important risk factors are high triglycerides, low HDL (“good cholesterol”), a large waist (35″ or more for women, 40″ or more for men), or fasting blood sugar higher than 110 mg/dL. Having any of these risk factors is bad enough, but having more than one amplifies the threat. Having three of them is the definition of metabolic syndrome — that’s a cluster of risk factors that, taken together, create a toxic environment in your blood vessels. It’s important to tackle each one of your heart-health problems to reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.


Discover more Food Cures for your health.

 

The post Hypertension 101: What is high blood pressure? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Does Chocolate Improve Blood Pressure? https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/chocolate-and-blood-pressure/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=chocolate-and-blood-pressure Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:23:25 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1022 Is it possible that this deliciously decadent treat is actually good for your health?

The post Does Chocolate Improve Blood Pressure? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Is it possible that a deliciously decadent treat is actually good for you?

Q: I can’t tell you how happy I was when I read that chocolate may help improve blood pressure. Is that true?

A: Yes, but with limitations. Scientists have discovered that the antioxidant flavonoids in chocolate can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve the elasticity of blood vessels, and may increase HDL (“good” cholesterol). Dark chocolate contains more than double the amount of flavonoids as milk chocolate, and — another strike against milk chocolate — the addition of milk may stop the intestines from absorbing the flavonoids. So if you’re going to eat chocolate, choose a variety that is at least 70 percent dark chocolate.

Of course, chocolate is also rich in calories and fat that will lead to weight gain if you overdo it, so make sure that you eat chocolate only in one-ounce snack-sized portions — and remember to account for the extra 150 calories in your daily calorie allotment.


Discover more Food Cures for your health.

The post Does Chocolate Improve Blood Pressure? appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Sodium Claims on Food Packaging https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/sodium-in-processed-food/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sodium-in-processed-food Tue, 09 Feb 2016 16:15:27 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=1017 What does it means when a label calls something "reduced" or "low" sodium?

The post Sodium Claims on Food Packaging appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Learn what it means when a product is “reduced” or “low” sodium.

Q: What’s the difference between reduced sodium, low-sodium, and no-salt-added products? I am so confused by food labels!

A: If you’ve been diagnosed with prehypertension or hypertension, lowering the amount of sodium you eat is one of the most important dietary changes you can make. Up to 80 percent of the sodium in the American diet comes from processed foods (not salt added at the table or during food prep), so you’ll want to become a savvy consumer and start reading labels. To get you started, here’s a guide to the labeling lingo the FDA uses to regulate sodium claims on food packaging.

  • Sodium-free: a product contains less than 5 milligrams (mg) sodium per serving.
  • Very low-sodium: a product contains 35 mg sodium or less per serving.
  • Low-sodium: a product contains 140 mg sodium or less per serving.
  • Reduced sodium or less sodium: a product contains at least 25 percent less sodium than the standard version.
    Note: Some “reduced sodium” products are still very high in sodium, so you’ll need to check the actual sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Panel to see if it fits into your low-sodium diet. For example, “reduced sodium” canned soups, though considerably lower in salt than regular canned soups, can still contain almost 500 milligrams sodium per 1-cup serving.
  • Light in sodium: a product contains at least 50 percent less sodium than the standard version.
    Note: Some “light in sodium” products are still very high in sodium, so you’ll need to check the actual sodium content on the Nutrition Facts Panel to see if it fits into your low-sodium diet. For example, “light” or “lite” soy sauce, though considerably lower in salt than regular soy sauce, still contains 500 to 600 mg sodium per tablespoon.
  • Unsalted or no salt added: no sodium (salt) is added to the product during processing, but the product still contains sodium that naturally occurs in the product’s ingredients.
  • Healthy: a product must contain no more than 480 mg sodium for an individual food item (like a snack food), or no more than 600 mg for a meal or main dish (like a frozen dinner).

The post Sodium Claims on Food Packaging appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Better Stress Management in Teens Means Better Blood Pressure as Adults https://joybauer.com/high-blood-pressure/better-stress-management-in-teens-means-better-blood-pressure-as-adults/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=better-stress-management-in-teens-means-better-blood-pressure-as-adults Wed, 20 Jan 2016 03:39:10 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4575 Do you have a tense teen at home? There’s good reason to chill out! A new study shows that easily stressed teens may have an increased risk for high blood pressure as adults.

The post Better Stress Management in Teens Means Better Blood Pressure as Adults appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>
Today’s teens are well acquainted with stress, thanks to piles of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, college applications, and part-time jobs. But there’s good reason to chill out: How well kids deal with stress could have a long-term impact on their future health, according to a new study in the journal Heart.

Researchers from Stanford University in California and Lund University in Sweden found that young adults who tend to be easily stressed are more likely to develop high blood pressure as older adults. The researchers analyzed records of more than 1.5 million 18-year-old men in Sweden over nearly 30 years.

By 2012, more than 93,000 men had developed high blood pressure. Researchers found that low stress resilience at age 18 was associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure as adults. Young men who scored in the bottom 20 percent for stress resilience had a 40 percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those with stress resilience scores in the highest 20 percent.

So what’s a stressed-out teen (or his/her parent) to do? Logging more sleep and exercise time can help tame tension, as can cutting back on caffeine and foregoing fast food in favor of a healthy diet. Check out my Food Fixes to Ease Stress for more ways to take a delicious bite out of stress.

The post Better Stress Management in Teens Means Better Blood Pressure as Adults appeared first on Joy Bauer.

]]>