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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...

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Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...

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Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...

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Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....

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My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...

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Food companies reduce salt by stealth

Posted on : 11-06-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Super-healthy...er...stuff

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Want to cut the amount of salt your family shakes on their food? Stick clear tape over half the holes in the salt shaker. Who knows? It might just work. It certainly did for one study where they found that people shook the salt shaker for a certain time regardless of how much was coming out. When they taped over half the holes, the study subjects unknowingly ended up eating half the amount of salt.

This ‘stealth’ method of reducing salt is exactly what many nutritionally responsible food manufacturers

Finding the hidden salt in my pantry!

Posted on : 04-03-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Food labelling, Policy watch & public health

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The best way to learn is to teach. I find this all the time with nutrition. Whenever I give a talk, I invariably find myself thinking ‘Oh yes. I must do that!’ Telling others is a great way to keep yourself on track!

I’m currently giving a ten-week nutrition course and today we talked about salt. We had a look at the nutrition information panels of breakfast cereals and everyone was amazed at the variation in sodium levels. They ranged from 4mg to over 700mg per 100 grams. To claim ‘low salt’ a food must have less than 120mg per 100 grams.

Which cereals hit the over 700mg mark? It was Cornflakes, Ricies and Rice Bubbles. A plate of Cornflakes has more sodium than a small bag of potato crisps.

Scoops! 8.11.2009

Posted on : 08-11-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Bones, Hypertension, Kids nutrition, Losing it - weight loss & obesity, Policy watch & public health, Scoops

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scoopdig-nov09Stuff I’ve found digging around on the net … with my take on it ..c

Physical Education Key To Improving Health In Low-income Adolescents School-based physical education plays a key role in curbing obesity and improving fitness among adolescents from low-income communities, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley.

It’s what we all know: physical activity is good for your body and your mind – and it’s much more fun than sitting in the classroom all day.

TV Bombards Children With Commercials For High-fat And High-sugar Foods Childhood obesity in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions. With more than one fourth of advertising on daytime and prime time television devoted to foods and beverages and continuing questions about the role television plays in obesity, a study in the November/December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

10 ways to reduce high blood pressure {Part 1}

Posted on : 20-08-2009 | By : Cindy | In : Hypertension, Special diets, Super-healthy...er...stuff

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bp1High blood pressure can be a ‘silent killer’ because there are usually no symptoms. The only way to find out whether your blood pressure is high is to get it checked. The top number (systolic) measures the pressure of the blood when your heart pumps it out around your body. The bottom number (diastolic) measures the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills up with blood, ready for the next pump. Think of your arteries as a garden hose with your heart as the tap. If you turn the tap on high the water pumps out at high pressure. If you turn the tap down the pressure drops. Sometimes we need to get blood out to our muscles fast: jumping out of the way of a speeding car is one good reason! In this case high blood pressure may be a life saver. But if your blood pressure is constantly high, you increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. Here are the first three changes you can make to help reduce high blood pressure.  More tomorrow…

1.  Eat less salt

[tweetmeme]Most of us eat more salt, or to be exact, sodium, than we need. The NHMRC recommends no more than 1600mg sodium a day for healthy blood pressure. In New Zealand we eat at least double that amount. That’s almost 2 teaspoons of salt a day. Even if you don’t sprinkle salt on your food, around three-quarters of the salt we eat comes from processed foods such as bread, sauces, soups, processed meat, some breakfast cereals, cheese and salty snacks.

High sodium foods don’t always taste salty. A plate of cornflakes or rice bubbles has as much sodium as a small bag of potato crisps. And a slice of bread can have the same amount of sodium as the teaspoon of Vegemite you spread on it!

If you have to cut back on salt, don’t despair. For the first three or four weeks food will taste bland but your taste-buds do adjust. Then you will find your old food far too salty.

Cutting back on salt will likely reduce your blood pressure. This is especially so for older people and those who already have high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or are overweight. However some people are salt insensitive. This means that the amount of salt they eat has no effect on their blood pressure. What else can these people do?

2.  Reduce weight

If you are overweight, losing weight is one of the best ways to drop your blood pressure. If you are already on medication, losing weight often helps it to work better and you may even need a lower dose. Studies have found that people who lost 3-9% of their weight reduced their systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) pressure by an average of 3 points more than people who did not lose weight (see BMJ Best treatments)

3.  Be active

Thirty minutes (not necessarily all at once) a day of moderate intensity exercise such as walking, cycling, dancing, gardening or swimming helps drop both your blood pressure and your weight. In fact it can reduce high blood pressure as much as some drugs. People who are physically active have a quarter to half the risk of high blood pressure. Building strong muscles is also important but skip the heavy weights if your blood pressure is already high. All that groaning and straining will likely send it shooting higher!

Part 2 here …

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