SINGAPORE (Mar 19): The new superfood in town, and why your salt intake needs to be controlled.

Salt is the culprit

New research has found that eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may not be enough to counteract the effect of high salt intake on blood pressure, suggesting that reducing salt consumption may be the best dietary change to make.

Carried out by scientists at a number of institutions, including Imperial College London and Northwestern University in Illinois, the US, the team analysed the diets of 4,680 people aged 40 to 59 from the US, UK, Japan and China. 

Participants were followed over four days, with the team taking two urine samples during this time to assess concentrations of sodium and potassium. Sodium is the main component of salt, while potassium, which is found in green leafy vegetables, has been linked to lower blood pressure.

The team also assessed volunteers’ intake of over 80 nutrients that may be linked to low blood pressure, including vitamin C, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, many of which are found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

They found that the average salt intake across the study was 10.7g a day. The average intake for the UK was 8.5g, while that for the US, China and Japan were 9.6g, 13.4g and 11.7g, respectively.

The recommended upper limit of adult salt intake in the UK is 6g a day — around one teaspoon — with the team finding that increasing salt intake above this average amount was linked to an increase in blood pressure, even if participants consumed a high level of potassium and other nutrients.

An increase of an additional 7g (1.2 teaspoons) of salt above the average intake was associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure of 3.7 mmHg.

Ideally, blood pressure should be between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg.

Systolic pressure is the first number at the top of the ratio, which measures the force the heart pumps blood around the body. 

The second number, called diastolic pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart relaxes between beats.

High blood pressure increases the risk of a number of conditions, including heart attacks and stroke; however, reducing blood pressure even by just a small amount can also reduce the risk of these potentially fatal conditions.

High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK, and is thought to be brought about by a number of factors, including age and weight as well as eating too much salt.

The researchers are now advising people to monitor salt intake. Joint lead author Dr Queenie Chan says, “We currently have a global epidemic of high salt intake — and high blood pressure. This research shows there are no cheats when it comes to reducing blood pressure. Having a low salt diet is key — even if your diet is otherwise healthy and balanced.” — AFP Relaxnews


A new superfood

Who would have thought that something deemed to be at the bottom of the food chain could now be considered a superfood? Euglena is a microscopic algae that contains 59 essential nutrients needed by our body to achieve optimal health. Cultivated in Okinawa, this rare organism combines both plant and animal cell characteristics to efficiently absorb nutrients.

Euglena has a unique, naturally occurring compound called Paramylon, which helps remove undesirable substances such as fat and cholesterol. It is also a non-digestible dietary fibre with a sponge-like structure for detox and immune support.

On the beauty side, Euglena contains properties that increase the production of dermal fibroblasts, which provide additional defences against ultraviolet light and help keep skin looking youthful. It also triggers the formation of collagen, an element that fights ageing. Euglena is also used in hair and scalp care products to restore damaged hair and provide moisture and bounce to create luscious and healthy looking hair.

Euglena is used as an ingredient in beverages, cosmetics, hair care products and supplements. It can be purchased at:

  1. Aesthetic & Medical Clinic
  2. Dr JS Medical Clinic
  3. The Nutrition Practice
  4. Life Giving Sciences
  5. Nishino Pharmacy (Isetan Scotts,  Isetan Westgate, Takashimaya  and Liang Court)
  6. Specialist Compounding Pharmacy
  7. Welcia-BHG Pharmacy (Bugis Junction)
This article appeared in Issue 822 (Mar 19) of The Edge Singapore.

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