Articles on health effects of salt

Why You Should Break Up With Salt

Dr. Sangeeta Malu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The real culpritStudies have shown that your total daily intake of salt should not be more than 6g. To reduce your salt intake you can give up or minimize consuming things like soda, french fries, and even try to substitute salt with balsamic vinegar. But what you should really be worried about is the hidden salt in your daily foods. Everything in its limitEven though sodium is an essential nutrient that helps your nerves and muscles to work properly, an excess of it in your system causes your body to retain water. This in turn puts pressure on your heart and blood vessels leading to high blood pressure and several other health problems. Tons and tins of saltWhen you go grocery shopping, your first instinct is to pick up that can of fish, or maybe that tin of tomatoes. What you don't realize is, 20% of that tin is actually salt. And not the good kind of salt, mind you. It's the kind of salt that remains hidden, and usually rears its ugly head when it's already too late. Befriending the labelDon't rely on your instinct when picking up products off the shelf at the store. Pay attention to those little nutrition label on the back, that you've been ignoring all this while. You should keep an eye out for hidden salt and pick up low sodium options instead. You'll be surprised by how many unlikely products contain a high amount of salt! So the next time you're at the go- whether it's shopping, or at a party with a spread of salty foods, you must think twice. Sometimes, that small pinch of salt might just be a pinch too much for your body's health! I'd say it's a pretty good time to break up with Salt.

Smoking Effects on Teeth and Oral Cavity

Dr. Swasti Jain, Dentist
It is widely known that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. Due to the nature by which the action of smoking is performed, it is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by the act. It is very important, therefore, that a smoker take extra care of his/her mouth and teeth. There are ways in which a smoker can help to keep the damages of smoking from doing further harm through proper oral care.Oral Health Problems Caused By SmokingAmong the most common oral problems, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease. Smokers are four times more likely of developing this problem than non-smokers.Due to the excess of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice more likely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become inflamed and contribute to deterioration of bone structure. Smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as periodontal treatments, dental implants, and tooth extraction. Smokers are at a greater risk of developing dry socket from tooth extraction procedures. When dry socket occurs, the patient experiences severe pain in the affected area due to the bone and nerve endings being exposed.In addition to these medical ailments, smoking can also cause vanity issues impacting the teeth and mouth. Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tarter, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. The condition causes the tongue to become yellow, green, black, or brown, and give the appearance of being hairy. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.Dental Hygiene Tips to Improve Oral HealthWhile quitting smoking is the most effective way to ensure better oral healthHaving a proper oral hygiene plan is extremely important for smokers. Smokers should be brushing, flossing, and using a tongue cleaner and mouthwash on a regular basis, at least twice daily. By staying on top of regular dentist visits, smokers can also benefit from professional cleanings.People who smoke should also check for recurrent bleeding in the mouth, lesions, swelling, and lumps. White, red, or dark patches on the inside of the mouth, under the tongue, and on the cheeks that last more than two weeks should be brought to the attention of a dentist. Lumps on the lips and gums can also indicate a more serious problem, as should numbness or pain in any part of the mouth.

Salt Room Therapy

Dr. Loknath Kumar, General Physician
Salt Room Therapy also called Halo therapy (from the Greek word Halos, meaning Salt) is a drug free and completely natural therapy with no side effects.Description of salt Room:The salt room is entirely covered with imported predefined mixture of untreated salts and specific minerals, causing a strong negative ionization of the room air, which on its part eases respiration.Mechanism of Salt Room:Halo generator is a machine in the salt room, which we feed with 99.9% of imported pure sodium chloride derived from predefined mixture of untreated salt and specific minerals which are inhalable. Pharma grade particles of 2 to 4 microns are present in the treatment room in the form of aerosols at a specific micro climate for the micro particles to be clinically effective.Salt emits negative ions. Injured and diseased cells are electron deficient, so submitting the body to an electron rich environment benefits and heals cells by absorption. When patient breathes or is exposed to the micro particles it has 3 major clinical actions: bacteriostatic, bactericidal and T-Lymphocyte action. When salt is inhaled, it travel through the sinuses and respiratory tract absorbing moisture, cleansing mucus and killing bacteria.Role of salt room in Athletes:Halo therapy can enhance sports performance by improving lung function and increasing lung capacity and stamina.Indications of Salt room therapy:Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Allergies, Sinusitis, COPD, ILD, IPF, Sarcoidosis, Smokers Cough, Skin Allergies like Atopic Dermatitis, Eczema, Psoriasis, Reduce Anxiety, Relaxation and Rejuvenation, SnoringSalt room therapy should  be avoided in cases such as:Infections accompanied by fever.Cancer patient.Elevated Blood Pressure.Active Tuberculosis.Total Kidney Failure.Total Liver Failure.Salt room therapy offers a very viable option for treating the Allergy conditions for all age group of patients by improving the body immune system and the overall health / well being.Dr.Vanikala VenugopalRespiCare Whitefield

Life Style/diet/role of Salt in Hypertension??

Dr. Supritha K M, General Physician
SALT & HYPERTENSIONNow, in continuation to my previous article about hypertension,the next common question is about DIET/LIFE STYLE IN HYPERTENSION.As we all know the first thing that is advised for a patient,when diagnosed as HTN/Pre-HTN is "LOW SALT DIET","KEEP AWAY FROM STRESS"But how do you measure& cut down on the salt?What is the daily requirement of salt?What has salt got to do with HTN control?It is mainly the amount of Na++(sodium) in the salt which matters, which has a role with control of HTN.WHAT DOES Na++ DO?Na++ is one of the main electrolyte in ion transport that happens in the cells of the body, which leads to Increased contractile capacity of blood vessel wallalso to some extent stimulate growth of smooth muscle cell, thereby increasing vessel wall thickness, in turn the resistance offered by the vessel.Daily recommended dose of salt is 5gms/day.That is almost equal to LEVEL TEASPOON of salt.Amount of salt in our diet!! How do we measure the salt we consume??It is mainly the unseen/HIDDEN salt that is present in our daily diet habits!What is this unseen/HIDDEN salt-salt present in our snacks,pickles,chutneys,sauces(ex:soya sauces)ketchups,chips,salted biscuits,cheese,salted butter.Also most of the processed/packaged food also  have hidden extra amount of salt,because salt is added as a preservative.but most food lables only report sodium as grams per 100grams of food.To convert to  salt multiply by 2.5 i.e. 1gm of sodium per 100 gms of food is almost equivalent to the saltiness of seawater!How to control on salt intake?First & foremost thing is to avoid packaged & processed food.Only choose food items with no more than 0.3gms of sodium per 100gms of food Do not add salt to cooking,instead add only at the table,so that you'll have better control of your salt intake.Alternative is ,suppose in a family of 4 members the daily recommended salt intake is 3.5 level TSP per day,so that 0.5 gms will be given as a margin for hidden salt intake.Instead of salt one can add pepper,garlic,herbs(mint/oregano/parsley/coriander),Lemon as flavoring agents.Other dietary/lifestyle changes:Salt intake is one of the main dietary changes advised in hypertension.DIET:Other dietary changes include-Diet rich in Whole grains, fruits & vegetables (5 servings per day),Low fat dairy products & decrease on saturated fat & cholesterolThis can lower BP by upto 14mm HgFor more information one ca visit these websites-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974,http://foodpyramidindia.org/Fruits & vegetables-1 serving =1cup of cut fruits/vegetables (or) 80-100 gms, of locally available fruits & vegetables per day i.e. 450-500 gms each day.But in India per capita consumption actual national average is 140GMS/DAY!!!ALCOHOL:Moderation in alcohol consumption-Men <14 units per weekWomen <7 units per week(ASH guidelines) One alcohol unit is measured as 10ml or 8gm of pure alcohol.This equals one 25ml single measure of whisky(ABV* 40%), or a third of a pint of beer(ABV* 5-6%) or half a standard glass of red wine i.e 175ml (ABV*12%)*ABV=Alcohol By VolumePHYSICAL ACTIVITY & STRESS MANAGEMENT:Atleast 30-60 min of moderate physical activity,min of 5days a week can lower blood pressure by 4-9mm HgMake sure you take stairs in you work place rather than lift,walk to the market,walk with your children to their school or activity center/tutions.Get involved in group activities:Dance /cook with friends & family, so that every one will have quality time together as well as a stress buster.In practical,all the above said things looks simple & easy,BUT the very important aspect is ADOPTION & MAINTENANCE of life style modifications,where most of us fail!Try & adhere to the changes one at a time.I would call it as INVESTING ON HEALTH!!We see people chasing behind possessions & positions,often forget on their health-at the end of it all you'll just be spending all your possessions on your illness!Now its your choice to draw a line b/w health & wealth!

The Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

Dr. Parag M. Khatri, Dentist
When you see the warning on cigarette packages — "Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health." — What smoking-related diseases come to mind? Lung cancer, probably. Emphysema, maybe. But, did you know that half of periodontal (gum) disease in smokers is caused by smoking? Chronic (long-term)gum disease can lead to the loss of your teeth.Studies conducted to examine the effects of smoking on oral health have found that tobacco use may be one of the biggest risk factors in the development of periodontal disease.Not only does smoking increase the chance that you will develop gum disease, it makes treatment much more difficult and less likely to be successful. Smoking also lessens your mouth's ability to heal, so much so that many of the treatments you may want and need will not work well if you continue to smoke.For example, crowns and bridges in a person who has gum disease will not look very good because the gum disease will cause bone loss and receding gums around the crown edges. Implants are much more likely to fail in people who smoke. Popular cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain laminates, also will not be successful in a person who smokes.Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that destroys soft tissue and bone that anchors your teeth to your jawbones. The bacteria found in dental plaque that forms in the pockets around your teeth and your body's reaction to the plaque contribute to the breakdown of soft tissue and bone.Smoking tobacco products can make gum disease get worse more quickly. In early stages of the disease, you may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. As the infection worsens, your gums begin to break down and pull away from your teeth, forming pockets.Later, the pockets between your teeth and gums deepen as more of the supporting structures are destroyed.Ultimately, your teeth may become loose and painful and may even fall out.Studies have shown that smokers have more calculus (tartar) than nonsmokers. This maybe the result of a decreased flow of saliva. Smokers have more severe bone loss and more deep pockets between their teeth and gums than nonsmokers. Among specific findings, smokers were 2.6 to 6 times more likely to have gum destruction than nonsmokers, and severe bone loss was 4.7 times greater among current or former heavy smokers compared with people who never smoked."Smokers have less gum bleeding and redness, which can lead to the false impression that the gums are healthy. It is therefore very important that tobacco smokers have regular dental exams to evaluate their oral and gingival health," Dr.Albert says.Researchers still are studying just what smoke does to oral tissue, but it appears to interfere with basic functions that fight disease and promote healing. Researchers have found that smoking affects the way gum tissue responds to all types of treatment."It is believed that the chemicals contained in tobacco interfere with the flow of blood to the gums, leading to a slow down in the healing process and making the treatment results less predictable and often unfavorable," Dr. Albert says.One reason smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to lose their teeth if they get gum disease is that smoking can slow the healing process after periodontal treatment or any kind of oral surgery. One study found that smokers were twice as likely as nonsmokers to lose teeth in the five years after completing periodontal therapy. Additionally, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that in most studies of nonsurgical periodontal treatment, smokers showed less improvement than nonsmokers. Smokers also responded less favorably than nonsmokers to surgical treatment."It is not just cigarette smoke that contributes to periodontal disease," Dr.Albert says. All tobacco products, including pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and cigars, can affect the health of your gums.In a study conducted at Temple University and published in the Journal of Periodontology in 2000, researchers reported that 17.6% of former cigar or pipe smokers had moderate to severe gum disease.In addition, experts say pipe smokers experience similar rates of tooth loss as cigarette smokers, and smokeless tobacco can cause the gums to recede,increasing the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place.The only good news about smoking and the health of your teeth and gums is that the Surgeon General's warning holds true — quitting now does greatly reduce serious risks to your health. A recent study reported that the likelihood of having periodontal disease was not significantly different among former smokers who had quit 11 years before and people who never smoked.Even reducing the amount you smoke seems to help. One study found that people who smoked more than a pack and a half per day were six times more likely to have periodontal disease than nonsmokers, whereas those who smoked less than a half pack per day had only three times the risk."The dental office is a good place to visit for help with quitting. Your dentist can show you the effect of smoking on your mouth and teeth. She or he can help you set a quit date and provide you with advice on which medications can help you quit, such as nicotine patches or gum," Tobacco use may pose the greatest threat to your health as a risk factor for oral cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that:Implant FailureImplants can be used to replace lost teeth in people who smoke, but smokers should know they are at increased risk for the procedure to fail.Studies that have examined dental implants in smokers and nonsmokers have consistently found that patients who smoke have more implant failures.  "As a result, it is important that patients who smoke and who are considering having a dental implant placed be made aware of the fact that their tobacco use increases the chance that the implant will fail.They should be encouraged to quit smoking before undergoing the procedure and should be provided with tobacco-cessation counseling and support," he says.

Make 'Salt' Your Friend, and Say Goodbye to Your Breathing Worries!

Mrs. Anju Chandna, Yoga and Naturopathy
The last two decades have seen a phenomenal rise in all things natural. 'Back to nature' is the new age mantra that has caught people's imagination. Natural fabrics instead of nylon, natural cosmetics instead of ones laden with chemicals, natural organic foods instead of pesticide-grown crops and natural remedies for a host of ailments instead of conventional methods of treatment. Reason can easily be attributed to the phenomenal rise in polluted air, polluted water systems and polluted land. People are yearning to go back to nature and extract from it whatever bounties it has to offer. And nature never ever disappoints us.The humble mineral, Salt, is one such miraculous gift of nature to us. The good news is that there is no dearth of salt on this earth. The sea has it in abundance and it is also available in plenty in natural salt mines and caves. World wide, this mineral is used for therapeutic purposes in treating ailments by means of a unique natural treatment called Salt therapy. Salt therapy uses salt to great advantage in the form of salt rooms. Salt rooms are artificial salt caves that are made of tons of sea salt to create a micro-climate very similar to that of a natural salt cave. Let me enumerate the 5 most promising benefits of salt therapy to you:Salt is bactericidalSitting inside a salt room exposes your lungs to the cleanest air possible since the presence of so much salt all around kills all germs and bacteria. The air that you get to breathe inside is light, easy to breathe and pure. Getting to breathe such pure air within a city is nothing short of a luxury in today's age and time!Salt is anti-inflammatoryDuring a one hour session in the salt room, salt particles enter deep into your lungs, it has the capacity to relieve symptoms of any inflammation in the airways that is caused due to the presence of mucous in the body.Salt makes the salt room hypo-allergenicThe presence of tons of salt in the salt room makes the environment absolutely clean and no allergens can find their way into it. People with respiratory disorders need such a clean atmosphere so that a one hour salt room therapy helps to cleanse their system and not irritate it. That is the reason why people with very chronic allergic cough can also endure the salt spray and benefit from it.Salt is mucolyticMucolytic implies ‘melting mucous’. Root cause of all allergies is that our body fights allergies by producing more mucous, mucous starts filling up in the airways and lungs, thereby clogging them and making them narrow. Air in the salt room is laden with minute salt particles that enter the airways, upon reaching the airways they start reacting with the mucous lining the walls of the airways. Mucous starts to melt, airways become cleansed and wide.Salt is negatively ionized. Negative ions are considered to be ‘cleansers of the air’ and salt has the property of negative ionization. Negative ionization of the air relieves stress, makes it clean and fit for breathing.A lot can be said about the mucolytic properties of salt, it’s attributes of negative ionization and its bactericidal effects. So, make this humble salt your best friend in case you’re suffering from respiratory problems. Believe me it’ll never let you down. The Author is the founder of SRT India - The Salt Room Therapy Chain

Eating Chocolate Might Not Be as Bad as You Think

Dr. Tanoy Bose, Internal Medicine
Until the last decade, intake of chocolate was a strict no no for those who considered health, fitness & figure as the primary objective of living. Even among the vaster society chocolate had been used as a gift, reward or a dared act of deviation from healthy lifestyle. The chocolate faddists were stigmatized as unhealthy beings of the planet. But in recent times there have been confounding news about health benefits of chocolate that have put the stigmatized on the front row of health conscious social beings. Well, let’s try to decipher the facts here. After searching tones of research articles I found that all the researchers are concentrating on a particular chemical compound called FLAVONOIDS or POLYPHENOLS. Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, tea & wine which have excellent antioxidant property. Since last one decade researchers have noted that daily intake of adequate amount of flavonoids, be it in any form, reduces the risks of Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Attacks & equivalents) and most importantly Cancers and activity against the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV).Flavonoids like LUTEOLIN and KAEMPFEROL can be considered as promising candidate agents for treatment of gastric and ovarian cancers, respectively and APIGENIN, CHRYSIN, and LUTEOLIN have good perspectives as potent antitumor agents for cervical cancer.Sounds like a panacea, doesn’t it. Traditional chocolate derived from the cocoa bean, which is one of the most concentrated sources of flavonoids. That’s where the chocolate scores. Higher the cocoa content, greater the benefits. As the cocoa content of the chocolate increases the chocolate becomes darker. That brings us to the conclusion that, Darker the chocolate, Healthier the benefits.Current evidence from experimental studies in animals and humans along with findings from prospective studies indicates beneficial effects of green and black tea as well as cardiovascular health, and that tea and chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of stroke. The strongest evidence exists for beneficial effects of tea and cocoa on endothelial function (Walls of the blood vessels), total and LDL cholesterol (tea only), and insulin sensitivity (cocoa only).There have been many observational studies to date that have reported a positive correlation between the consumption of dietary flavonoids, including flavanols, and a reduced risk for Cardiovascular Disease. Interestingly, there is also epidemiological evidence to support that the regular consumption of cocoa-containing foods may confer similar cardio protective benefits The Kuna Indians, an indigenous population in Panama, have been shown to have a very low incidence of age-related hypertension and have a low rate of Cardiovascular disease mortality This much lower prevalence of hypertension and related CVD mortality has been suggested to be related to their regular consumption of a cocoa rich in CF.Introduction of regular intake of flavonoids in form of low fat , fortified dark chocolate bars is being intensely evaluated in national nutritional program of many countries.

Important Lifestyle Changes For Healthy Living!

Dr. Anamay K. Bidwai, General Physician
We never realise that even just little modification in the way we do things can have long term health benefits like good control of blood pressure, reduced chances of diabetes,  delayed ageing and more years to your life.Scientific research done by reputed institutes have proved that slight modification in the way we eat, our activity, sleep can bring long term health benefits.This study was conducted on a large group of volunteers, which lasted over two years.The volunteers were divided in two groups,  one was asked to continue the life style they were leading, others were suggested some modification.Those volunteers who suffered from any disease like blood pressure or diabetes were asked to continue the treatment.Volunteers were asked once a week for physical check up and once in three months blood test for cholesterol, sugar etc was done.Volunteers who were asked to do modification in their life style were very minor modifications, like eat 12-20% less than what they have been eating, walk for just 20-30 minutes four times a  week, if they had alcohol they were asked to cut it down by about 20% of their weekly consumption and sleep for at least 7 hours every night.After two years when all statistics were put together and analysed, surprising results were found, it was proved that just cutting down about 12 -15% of daily food intake, moderated reduction in alcohol intake and doing moderate exercise four to five days a week can do wonders.The volunteers in the modified life style group had lost weight, they were feeling happier and healthier, their work performance had improved, cholesterol results were low, BP was lower, sugars were better controlled.We can understand from this study that even small changes in our life style can bring BIG benefits to our health. So, it is not very difficult to be in good health, just change little things and you will remain healthy and happy for life time.

5 Priceless Benefits of Salt Therapy for All Your Respiratory Troubles!

Mrs. Anju Chandna, Yoga and Naturopathy
Salt therapy is fast catching everyone’s attention. A therapy that was born within the confines of natural salt caves in the Eastern European countries like Poland and Romania around 150 years ago is now on its way to become one of the most revolutionary treatments of all time for all respiratory allergies like Asthma, Bronchitis,Sinusitis, Allergic cough, Dry cough, COPD and many others. A lot can be attributed to the fact that the treatment is natural.So let me give you a 5 point count as to what makes this therapy different from the conventional methods of treatment that we’ve known all these years. Salt therapy is a 100% natural treatment. The main ingredient that does all the trick is salt. The salt room has around 3-4 tons of salt on the walls, the ceiling, the floor and the aerosol that you inhale while sitting inside this artificial salt cave is also pharma-grade salt. Old age wisdom says that consuming too much salt is not good for our body but what needs to be understood is that this salt does not enter your digestive tract. So any side effect could arise of consuming salt directly is absent here. This salt aerosol enters only the respiratory tract through the nasal passage and goes directly into your lungs. It cleanses the mucous along its way and reaches the smallest bronchioles of the lungs. All naturally with no medicines.Salt therapy is absolutely safe for infants, the elderly and pregnant women. Since there is no medicine involved in the treatment, everyone from a 6 month old baby to an 80 year old adult can take the therapy without bothering about any negative fallout. Even pregnant women who are otherwise not advised medication can take this therapy and get relief from any allergy arising during their pregnancy. Salt therapy has no side effects. There is nothing entering your digestive tract that can possibly cause any side effect. Salt enters the lungs, reacts with the mucous present there and comes out of the body along with that mucous.  Presence of tons of salt in the salt room makes the environment absolutely clean and no allergens can find their way into it. People with respiratory disorders need such a clean atmosphere so that a one hour salt room session helps to cleanse their system and not irritate it. That is the reason why people with very chronic allergic cough can also endure the salt spray and benefit from it.Salt therapy offers long term relief. The basic function of salt therapy is to cleanse your lungs. So once your treatment is complete and your lungs get cleansed, the chances that they will remain that way are very high. But here we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in one of the most polluted regions of the world and you are constant being exposed to allergens. One might need maintenance sessions once every 3 months to keep your lungs clean and healthy.  Salt therapy de-stresses and calms the mind. Salt is inherently negatively ionized. Nature has made it this way.Negative ions are considered to be ‘cleansers of the air’ and salt has the property of negative ionization. Negative ionization of the air relieves stress, so spending an hour inside the salt room not just cleanses your lungs but also relieves your mind of stress. De-stressing the mind is considered to be an important step towards treating any kind of respiratory problem.So what are you waiting for? Come to the salt room and soak in the benefits of this miracle mineral!