IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  November 1, 2005

Get Less Sodium When Dining Out

According to Restaurant Confidential (Workman Publishing), most restaurant entrees contain at least 1,500 mg of sodium. That makes dining out difficult for dieters who want to keep their daily intake below 2,400 mg.

You can still eat out while guarding your health and considering your low-sodium goals. Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Speak to the waitress, or better yet, speak to the chef. Ask if they will eliminate salt in their seasoning of your steak, roasted chicken, or vegetables.
  • Skip foods that are made in bulk to be served later, such as spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and soups. It's too late to change the salt content of these dishes. It's already in there.
  • Baked potatoes are a good choice.
  • Like pizza? Try a slice of Pizza Hut's Veggie Lover's with 310 mg or Pepperoni, Sausage & Mushroom at 430 mg.
  • Like chicken? Eat one KFC's Whole Wing, Original Recipe, 370 mg or Hot & Spicy Drumstick, 380 mg.

    For information, visit www.lowsaltfoods.com and click on "Dine Out."


    Avoiding Getting Sick

    It's time for your flu shots! Each year we offer them to help you avoid influenza and up to a week of serious suffering. After the worst symptoms are gone, you could feel weak for days.

    We're not alone in this effort. A record number of companies nationwide are expected to set up shot shops this season. Influenza will cost American companies an estimated $1 million in lost productivity this year. More employers than ever offer free flu shots.
    It's an attempt to reduce the number of people who will get the flu and stay home, or even worse, come to work and spread the virus to others.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.

    Symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, dry cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and runny or stuffy nose. In some cases, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are present, but children are more likely to have these symptoms

    The virus is spread from person to person in respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes.

  • To avoid getting the flu, get vaccinated now. November and February are peak months, and it takes two weeks for full immunization to take effect.
  • Avoid close contact with sick co-workers.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean your work area with antibacterial wipes.


    The Stroke/Osteoporosis Link

    For some time, doctors have observed a link between cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Now, a study by researchers at Mitate Hospital in Japan offers sound evidence that homocysteine is the common factor in these diseases.

    Reducing homocysteine levels could reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis at the same time.

    Luckily, a simple vitamin therapy brings lower homocysteine levels, which would lower the risk of these diseases. In the study, treatment with vitamin B12 and folate was safe. It reduced homocysteine levels and the risk of hip fracture.

    Study subjects took 5 mg of folate (folic acid) and 1,500 micrograms of B12.

  • Circumcision Reduces AIDS Risk

    French and South African researchers have found that male circumcision reduces by about 70 percent the risk that men will contract HIV through intercourse.

    Researchers studied about 4,000 homosexual men in South Africa. The group of circumcised homosexual men were much less likely to contract HIV.

    According to New Scientist, the study findings were so dramatic that research was halted so that the uncircumcised study participants could be offered the operation.

    Women benefit indirectly from the findings because circumcision reduces the risk that a partner is HIV positive.

    Surgery for Epilepsy

    Surgery for hard-to-treat epilepsy can have lasting benefits, according to a new study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    Few studies have looked at the long-term prognosis for epilepsy surgery. This study found that half of patients who had the surgery were free of seizures 30 years thereafter, according to the journal Neurology.

    Mammograms Increase

    Bookings for mammograms in Australia went up 40 percent after an Australian star announced she had breast cancer, according to the University of Sydney.


    Protect Your Liver

    Though they don't get a lot of attention in the press, liver diseases are the fourth leading cause of death in Americans between the ages of 15 and 65. The diseases can strike anyone regardless of age, sex, race, or economic status.

    The liver is the largest organ in the body, weighing 3 to 4 pounds. It takes blood from the stomach and intestines and cleanses it by freeing the blood of waste matter and poisons. Its work is basic to health and longevity.

    The American Liver foundation says these are some things you can do to protect your liver.

  • Avoid taking too many medications or mixing medicines without the advice of a doctor. Street drugs can scar the liver permanently.
  • Don't have more than a couple of alcoholic beverages per day.
  • Be careful what you breathe. Bug sprays and other chemical sprays can harm the liver.
  • Watch what you get on your skin. Many sprays and chemicals can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Take precautions against hepatitis C. Use protection with intimate contact. Hepatitis C can be spread through blood and body fluids, tattoos, body piercing, or drug injection.
  • The hepatitis B virus also lives in saliva and can be transmitted easily. Untreated hepatitis B and C viruses are the most common reason for liver transplants.
  • Since everything you eat must be processed by the liver, eat a well-balanced diet. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains and other high-fiber foods.
  • Avoid obesity, which can increase gallbladder and liver disorders.


  • Aspirin Helps to Prevent Women's First Stroke

    Physicians have long known that taking aspirin helps to prevent a second stroke. But most studies were done predominantly on men. Women metabolize aspirin differently.

    A new 10-year study of 40,000 women shows that, for them, aspirin statistically prevented many first strokes. Those taking a placebo suffered 17 percent more TIAs (transient ischemic attacks), which are warning sign of an impending stroke, and they suffered 22 percent more strokes.

    Study authors reporting in The New England Journal of Medicine say the finding is significant, especially since a greater proportion of women than men have strokes.

    Participants in the study took 100 mg of aspirin every other day, alternating with vitamin E.

    Unfortunately, the study failed to show that taking aspirin resulted in fewer heart attacks for women.

    Study participants filled out an annual questionnaire that enabled researchers to further investigate those who reported a heart attack or stroke and those who died from other causes.

    Any man or woman considering aspirin therapy should consult a doctor before beginning. The doctor must consider the risk of GI bleeding. The risk of hemorrhagic stroke in hypertensive men and women is also considered.

    Doctors say that you should remember that aspirin is a drug, and that you should not medicate yourself.


    Niacin Increases HDL Levels

    It's important to have satisfactory levels of HDL, the good kind of cholesterol, in order to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. Niacin appears to be very helpful in both raising HDL levels and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis.

    A study appearing in Circulation shows that after taking 1,000 mg of niacin for one year, study subjects reached their LDL (bad cholesterol) goal of 100 mg/dL , and they had higher levels of HDL. At the same time, niacin slowed the progression of atherosclerosis about 68 percent.

    Niacin is an inexpensive vitamin that is available without prescription.

    Feed Your Brain

    On days when you have to think clearly and well, be sure to optimize the nutrients that are available to the brain during that meeting, presentation, or test.

    Sweet rolls and coffee won't do it. They tend to make you crash after about one hour. Your brain won't work very well.

    Doctors at Harvard Medical School recommend low-fat milk and whole-grain cereal or eggs, toast, and jam.

    Intense brain work, say nutritionists at Yale, is not unlike running a marathon. It just happens to be cognitive rather than physical. Your brain runs on the fuel you ingest just like the rest of your body. For snacks, eat fruit, vegetables, nonfat yogurt, and energy bars made from fruits, nuts, and seeds.

    Brush Well For a Healthy Heart

    Devoting five minutes a day to caring for your teeth and gums is good for your smile and your heart.

    The American Dental Association says gram-negative bacteria that destroys bone in periodontal disease can also damage the lining of arteries or promote clot formation, leading to a heart attack.

    Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, especially using new tools such as specialty picks, power brushes, flossers, and rinses, can help eradicate harmful plaque between teeth that can easily be missed by simple brushing.