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Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

4MV #223 Not all salt is bad; added salt is ✔ Learn about healthy salt

Published 3 months ago • 8 min read

⭑ We eat too much added-salt, here's how to cut back ✔ Fast results
⭑ We need salt. Replace added salt with salt in real food ✔ Here's why
⭑ Sugar is demonised but real food has healthy sugar ✔ In moderation
⭑ This simple forgotten exercise will do wonders ✔ Strength, balance, posture

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦

Hello,

Salts ain't salts, sugars ain't sugars.

Most adults consume twice the American Heart Association's recommended daily salt intake. This is associated with higher blood pressure.

We should eat less salt, but we also need to eat more salt!

The prevalence of diabetes is skyrocketing in the US, Australia and many other countries - in line with the increasing rate of obesity.

We need to eat less carbs "sugar", but we also need to eat more sugar!

Confused? This is the goal of the vested interests behind sugar and salt, i.e. "they who control the labelling laws". Let me sort it out for you today.

Nearly half of U.S. adults are affected by hypertension or are taking medication for it. The good news is that eating a little less salt today will lower your blood pressure over the next week - see item #1.

Did you know that eating "more salt" as part of eating natural food can reduce your blood pressure, which does not happen with processed foods - see item #2.

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01 The Wrong Salt - Teaspoon Less a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

In the US, about 120 million people have hypertension or take medication for it, according to the CDC. This is also seen in other Western countries.

High blood pressure not only increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke but also elevates the likelihood of developing various health problems, including kidney disease, visual impairments, sexual dysfunction, and peripheral artery disease.

Reducing salt consumption by just one teaspoon a day could lower blood pressure as much as hypertension medication, according to research presented at the most recent American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions.

The study included 213 adults and found that a low-sodium diet resulted in an average reduction of 8 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. A reduction of this size can significantly lower the risks mentioned above.

During the study, participants adhered to a low-sodium diet for one week, consuming meals, snacks, and beverages that contained approximately one teaspoon less of table salt (equivalent to 2.3 grams of sodium) than their usual diet.

On average, the low-sodium diet led to an 8 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) compared to the systolic pressure recorded after being on a high-sodium diet for the prior week.

Furthermore, the systolic pressure after the low-sodium diet was 6 mmHg lower than after their usual diet (systolic blood pressure represents the force exerted by the heart when it beats, propelling blood through our arteries).

What this means for you: You can do this easily at home and see a beneficial reduction in blood pressure in one week! That's remarkable.

Processed food accounts for 70% of the salt in the average Western diet.

Here's how to begin the process of eating less salt, as a habit:

  1. Start small: Begin by gradually reducing the amount of salt you add to your food at home.
  2. Read labels: Pay close attention to the sodium content on packaged foods and choose low-sodium options whenever possible.
  3. Cook more at home: This allows you to control the amount of salt added to your meals.
  4. Explore herbs and spices: Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavour to your food without relying on salt.
  5. Eat less processed food: You'll make the biggest dent in your excess salt consumption by taking out the pizzas, snacks, cookies, burgers and frankfurters.

Processed food has the wrong salt - read on for why you should eat more of the right salt.

Related: Stress, And How To Break The Cycle Of Poor Food Choices

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02 Non-Added Salt Ain't Bad Salt - Here's Why

Among public health authorities, doctors, and dieticians, you'll see that certain elements of our diet become simplistic targets, e.g. eggs, full cream dairy products, sugar, and yes, salt.

Eggs are a fabulous, easy and cheap source of protein when we are older - 2 eggs a day means 12g of protein. Full cream dairy in moderation is fine and is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as essential fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which supports our immune system.

Doctors and dieticians warn diabetics off sugar and, for this reason, rail against fruit. Yet sugar in fruit is beneficial, even for diabetics such as myself. See item #3 below.

As for salt, added salt is bad. That is, unless it is the only form of salt that is available (because salt is an essential mineral required by our metabolism, unlike sugar).

Naturally occurring sodium (in real food) is often accompanied by potassium, which helps counteract the sodium's effects on blood pressure. In fact, a review of research studies revealed that increasing dietary potassium intake by 3.5 grams per day led to a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 4.4 mmHg.

The study in item #1 above, by the American Heart Association, found that reducing processed salt resulted in a 6 mmHg drop compared to the participants' normal diet. Meaning, that eating more food with salt and potassium is in the same ballpark.

In fact, studies found that increasing potassium intake while reducing sodium intake had a more significant impact on lowering blood pressure than reducing sodium intake alone.

What does this mean for you? Don't be afraid of eating more salt when it is in natural food with a high potassium content.

To get the best results do both! Reduce your consumption of salt-laden processed food as the first priority, and then eat more of these potassium-rich foods.

Top Potassium Sources:

  1. Potatoes: 926 mg per medium baked potato
  2. Bananas: 422 mg per medium banana
  3. Cantaloupe: 381 mg per cup cubed
  4. Avocado: 487 mg per 1/2 avocado
  5. Spinach: 839 mg per cup cooked
  6. Beans (black, kidney): 463 mg per 1/2 cup cooked
  7. Oranges: 351 mg per medium orange

⇒ Potatoes, avocados, cantaloupe and bananas give the most bang for the buck for potassium. Watch the serve sizes to keep the calories under control.

Related: ​How Bananas Benefit Your Bones - And Brain​

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03 Added Sugar is a Curse, Sugar in Fruit is Fine

Now we come to "sugar's ain't sugars".

Dieticians demonise fruit for diabetics. Where does that leave diabetics to go when they are yearning for a snack? Fruit juice is also demonised. So, reach for a diet coke? Snack on a sugar-free bag of Jelly Beans?

That diabetics are pushed to these choices instead of an apple, orange, mango, peach, or banana is insane.

Here's what you need to know: naturally occurring sugar in non-processed food like fruits and vegetables is not harmful, even to diabetics (disclaimer: check with your health professional).

Part of the reason is that sugar in natural food is enmeshed in a cellular matrix and this matrix has a large effect on how it is processed in our body.

Think of it this way. Clay is composed essentially of silica, alumina or magnesia or both, and water. But clay has properties and behaviours that none of those elements have individually.

⇒ Sugar is one component in the clay of fruit. Added sugar is just one component - think of it as the raw silica in clay. Added sugar has no redeeming nutritional qualities.

What this means for you: For me, I do not hesitate to eat fruit and vegetables because of their "sugar" content:

  • Fruit and vegetables contain fructose, bound within the cell structure along with fibre. Fibre slows down fructose absorption, preventing blood sugar spikes.
  • They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, which help regulate blood sugar and insulin response, slowing down sugar absorption.
  • Natural foods preserve the food's natural structure, including fibre content.
  • They are generally consumed in smaller portions, leading to a more controlled sugar intake.

Doctors and dieticians worry that diabetics will eat too much fruit. That's a reasonable concern. I've never met anyone who ate too much fruit and vegetables.

Nevertheless, exercise moderation in all sugar intake, regardless of source.

If you are serious about managing your diabetes, measure your blood sugar before eating and then 2 hours later - from when you started eating - and keep a spreadsheet including the food or fruit you ate, for example. This way, you will learn which fruits should be eaten in moderation or in conjunction with other more complex foods.

The bottom line: snacking on fruit beats snacking on processed food hands down.

Related: ​Skipping Breakfast May Make You More Likely To Develop Diabetes - Research​

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04 The Forgotten Power of Wall Squats: A Game-Changer for Over 50

Our exercise of the week is... wall squats - a forgotten gem that offers disproportionate benefits as we age.

Wall squats are low-impact yet strengthen the major muscle groups, improve stability and balance, boost metabolism, and improve bone health.

  • They target our quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core, building essential strength for everyday activities, e.g. for living longer better.
  • Holding a squat against a wall enhances balance and proprioception, crucial for preventing falls and injuries.
  • Unlike jumping exercises, wall squats are gentle on the joints, making them suitable for all fitness levels and individuals with joint pain.
  • These squats activate large muscle groups, leading to increased calorie burn even after exercise - helpful for losing weight.
  • These types of weight-bearing exercises help maintain your bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Additionally, wall squats are regarded as a great exercise for a back rehabilitation program because they allow you to experience the effect of a squat without causing stress to your lower back.

For runners (I ran 17.34km this morning), these will help improve your running speed and endurance and your ability to achieve optimum peak knee flexion (see last week's newsletter).

What this means for you: Do wall squats two to three times a week:

  • Stand with your back flat against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Pre-tension your shoulders and hips while engaging your core. Your ribs should be down and your pelvis should be slightly tucked. Keep your arms by your sides or place your hands on your legs.
  • Slowly slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close as you can comfortably come).
  • Hold for 30 seconds, keeping your core engaged and back straight.
  • Slowly slide back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10-12 times, completing 2-3 sets.

Cool down with gentle stretches for the major muscle groups used; try the ​side-lying quad stretch for just one stretch.

Level-up: As you get stronger, increase the hold time, aim for deeper squats, or add variations like single-leg squats or pulsing squats.

Remember:

  • Listen to your body and adjust the intensity and duration as needed.
  • Breathe regularly throughout the exercise.

Maintain proper form to avoid injury. Evenly distribute your weight and grip the floor with your feet to create a stable position. Your upper body and head should be resting against the wall. Your chin should remain tucked throughout the movement as if you were holding an egg under your chin.

Related: ​The Countdown - How To Start Exercising When You Can't Get Started​

Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you are not yet subscribed to my free exercise app, try now ↓↓↓ Free forever. Opt-out any time. Opt-in by CLICKING HERE PLEASE SEND ME THE EXERCISES. NOTE: YOU ONLY NEED TO SUBSCRIBE ONE TIME.

>> My Latest Blog Post: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods

About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share about the time you met Chris Hemsworth, or your questions about how to live longer better? Send those thoughts and more to me at walter@bodyagebuster.com

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Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

​"I empower mid-life men and women to make the choice to live as actively and as independently as they can, for as long as they can", Walter Adamson Get access to my weekly research that I don’t share elsewhere. “My wife and I both read your articles each week, and I have to say there is so much confusing data out there, but yours is a great source, well researched, scientific and always relevant.” — Steve Ridgway, subscriber.

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