Blog Entries With Tag: heart


Posted: Mar 15, 2013
Salt or sodium if we're going to be technical is in EVERYTHING we eat - we can't avoid it completely - plus our body does need salt.  According to the ... The National Academy of Sciences - they recommend " that Americans consume a minimum of 500 mg/day of sodium to maintain good health.  Individual needs, however, vary enormously based a person's genetic make-up and their lifestyle ".


I was watching a recent episode of Marketplace a consumer program on CBC here in Canada - called The Great Salt Shakedown.  was mortified to find out that here in Canada - when you look at a food label for the sodium content of your food - that the daily requirements are based on a higher number than what the health authorities have been pushing for.  The percentages are based on 2,400 mg per day!

In a nutshell, healthy adults should NOT be consuming more then 1,500 mg of sodium a day.  When it comes to healthy children, their number is 1,000 - 1,500 mg of sodium a day.   Take for example, in my age group, I should only be consuming no more then 1,300 mg of salt per day - when I started to look at the sodium content on my low carb fav of cheese - which I've always known to be high - I just about flipped out! For more info on what you should be aiming for - along with other tips - here's a link to get you started.

In the episode, various participants were asked to collect their urine for the day, and from that, tests performed to see how much sodium was consumed.   It was pretty scary seeing some of the results, healthy/active folks both young and old, who thought they did not consume much salt.  One person, an avid swimmer that looked about my age, had almost 6,000 mg of sodium (and they were vegan)!!!  Let's just say, they were shocked at the results.

After that show, what did we do in my household?  Went looking in our pantry and started to evaluate our sodium content in our processed foods.  Scary, scary, scary - e.g. my fav Bush beans that I keep on the boat for fast meals with canned pork - combined I'm consuming over a third of my sodium level - or more depending on how much I slop on my plate after a day of sailing.   Guess what I'm looking at doing now .... canning my own meats for future sailing trips due to home recipes using way less salt than the mass produced stuff - you can check out one website that tells you how to do it (if you know of another way to do this - let me know).  

For myself as a diabetic, as I am sure many of you do as well, I tend to look mainly at the carb count on the food label, along with the fat and calories.  The sodium content is something I don't really look carefully at - but now after this show, I am.  We all know as diabetics how much stress our internal organs go thru' with the daily grind of our blood sugars, but add that extra sodium and of course it can contribute to high blood pressure - putting a strain on our kidneys / heart. 


How am I going to start reducing my intake of sodium you ask?  Well, I thought I already was with cooking from scratch - but after looking at two cans of tomatoes in my pantry - for 1/2 cup (125 mL) - and one serving from Italy (9 mg) and another from Canada (290 mg) - you can tell which one I'll be sourcing out in future!  Also, as one of the links from Health Canada below,  it points out when/if possible going for fresh rather then processed.  Of course for me it depends on what I can afford and the season (e.g. I can get great deals on tomatoes in September - but it's March right now).

So after having my breakfast, of simple toast (not my own bread like usual - which DOES contain more salt then mine), margarine, pineapple jam and 2% cottage cheese  - it all totalled up to almost half  of my sodium content for the day.  I'm realising this is going to be an interesting experiment to accomplish because many of the foods I love to eat that are processed in one form or another.  I won't even try to figure out what a processed cheese slice contains - I'm too scared to know - even though my fingers are dying to search online to find out what they contain - but don't want my bubble burst for my love of plastic cheese from time to time.

So, do you know how much sodium you consume in the day?  If you don't - check out this helpful guideline at Health Canada - I know I am going to try my best (even though I thought I was doing well).  Also, for more info on the chart showing the % of Daily Value (DV) - please go to this link.

Let the dance begin - at least I know pepper isn't bad for me (and I use a lot in my cooking - freshly ground)!

 
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Posted: Nov 2, 2011



 

Recently I came across an article from researchers at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in New York City. They have created a simple equation, involving the space between teeth and gums and the number of missing teeth, that helps dentists identify people who have early stages of Type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that in this at-risk dental population, a simple algorithm composed of only two dental parameters (number of missing teeth and percentage of deep periodontal pockets) was effective in identifying patients with unrecognized pre-diabetes or diabetes. The addition of the point-of-care A1c test was of significant value, further improving the performance of this algorithm.
 

I go to the dentist every 9 months for a check-up and cleaning.  It used to be every 6 months - but my medical plan at work has cut back on some of the services we had - but still - to have 80-100% coverage for keeping my pearly whites (well - they are now looking abit yellow with age) is great!  I've been lucky so far since starting to work full time at 19 - that medical coverage from my employer at work has enabled me to keep my gums/teeth in good state.  Many people don't know that problems with your gums can lead to other health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, even Alzheimer's disease.

For folks like myself with diabetes we sometimes tend to be prone to tooth and gum problems when our blood glucose (BG) stays high or our overall health isn't good.  If high BG's persist, it can actually eventually cause you to even lose your teeth believe it or not.  Scary stuff !!  Now, if you don't have medical coverage at work – you can try calling up your local university that may have a free or affordable dental clinic .  I know here in Montreal, McGill University has teamed up with a local organisation that provides free dental work (note this last link works - but you will have to click on "Open this content in a new window" - in order to view the article - sorry for the extra step - some websites don't like Diabetes1.org for one reason or another accessing them).

 

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Posted: Oct 20, 2010

I'm once again facing that dilemma of the "seasonal flu shot" in the province of Quebec that I live in here in Canada.  While I read of my American friends and other friends in parts of Canada that have already received their flu shots - it makes me wonder about the province I live in.  Why do they take so long to make the vaccine available?

I know I've told some of my American friends that here in Quebec they are waiting for that perfect formula to incorporate all the nasty flu viruses that they feel will do the most harm to the population.  This was told to me by a nurse on call at the CLSC (that I spoke to on the phone.  Even better, was when I spoke to her about the recent news article about having the flu shot earlier in the season was beneficial to the heart, she seemed abit stumped by what answer to give to me. 

If you haven't opened up the link above to read the news article - in a nutshell - the article states that getting the flu shot earlier in the season rather then later in the fall is actually beneficial to our heart.  A study was done in England and Wales where  researchers found that the annual flu shot was associated with a large drop in the rates of first heart attacks!

It's been a long time since I've had the flu symptoms, but they usually range from running noise, achy muscles, phlegmy cough (gross), but what it also affects is inflammation in various tissues. What the researchers say is that they think the inflammation affects the lining of the blood vessel, which causes plaque to form.  This plaque when it dislodges can block a coronary artery, stop the blood flow and BOOM cause a heart attack.  As we diabetics know, we are already compromised with our blood vessels to begin with!  So, the flu shot has two advantages as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, it's been recommended by my American friends that I come on over to the border and get my flu vaccination at Walgreens or one of the many pharmacies that offer it.  I have to admit I am HIGHLY tempted to do this, as I'm starting to get annoyed at our so called "free" health care system in the province I live in.

Hopefully the RAMQ (Regie de l'assurance Quebec) is reading this - as I've already sent them an email about my dismay at having to wait until mid-November to be eligible for my flu shot.   To make matters worse, the address they list to go and get the flu shot on their webpage does not exist in my GPS, Google Maps, Map Quest - it's like looking for a needle in the haystack!

Needle in a haystack by Wicked_Kitten_sinz at Photobucket


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Posted: Aug 26, 2009

Hostess Twinkie

As we all know, sugar has no nutritional value.  It makes food taste good, who can't deny that?  I know I can't.  I'm a diabetic, and I still use sugar in my coffee. Granted, I make myself feel better by saying "I use raw sugar" - but let's face facts - it's sugar - 10g of carb for a teaspoon of sugar!  Many people who eat sugar laiden food are not eating healthy food (are Twinkies healthy - they taste so good?) and of course there are the calories that are involved in high sugar. Which results in high calories and if we don't burn those off - well - you know where it ends up (I'm looking down at my belly here as I type this out - yikes).

I came across a Good Morning America episode today - that was informing the viewers about sugar consumption in the American population (though I think this applies all over).  Did you know that the average person a day consumes .... 21 teaspoons of sugar a day?  The American Heart Association (AHA) is recommending that we reduce that amount of sugar consumption by a third - to only 7 ½ teaspoons a day. 

Also, what was amazing - was when the doctor being interviewed (Doctor Johnson)  said that a single can of pop drink contains 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar!  Ouch!  I mean I know they are high in sugar - who hasn't consumed a Coke when they need to fix a hypo (I have) - but there is that much sugar in just a can of pop floors me.   He continued to point out that boys (do girls not consume as much I wonder?) from the ages of 14-18 consume on average 35 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Reducing the amount of sugar we consume will of course help reduce our chances of having heart attacks, strokes and of course diabetes.  They are all related in many ways to our love of sugar in our diets.

I know that my parents many years ago decided to cut out excess sugar from their diets.  I'm not sure if it was because of my being a diabetic - but they have managed to wean themselves off of it in their tea and coffee and they also don't eat many sweet things.  Being of British descent - where we are known for bad  teeth (though have been told that's due to the bad dentistry at the time) - that's quite something else.  They are both in excellent health and they are in the 70's - so perhaps cutting out sugar has helped them - along with healthy eating.  I am hoping I can say the same thing when I reach their age - as I'm sure we all feel the same way.

To view the video - as well as read up abit more about our consumption of sugar - go to this link.

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