FOUR REASONS TO AIM LOW ON SODIUM
First, too much sodium can make blood vessels less flexible, which may cause or worsen atherosclerosis, independent of sodium’s effect on blood pressure. Even a single, high-sodium meal with 1,500 milligrams of sodium affected the ability of blood vessels to dilate in healthy people within 30 minutes in a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A high sodium intake can even trigger heart failure in people with impaired heart function.
Second, a high sodium intake increases calcium excretion in urine, which causes calcium to be leached from bone and thus contributes to bone loss and increased risk of fractures over time. Reduction of salt has a positive effect on calcium, studies have shown, and this may help slow age-related bone loss.
Third, in addition to contributing to hypertension, a major cause of kidney damage, salt may directly impair kidney function in some people. By increasing calcium in the urine, a high sodium diet may also increase the risk of kidney stones.
Fourth, there is evidence linking higher sodium intake to increased risk of gastric cancer. Salty foods may affect the stomach lining, making it more likely that the bacterium H.pylori, a cause of ulcers and stomach cancer, can infect tissues. A salty stomach environment may also alter the structure of H.pylori, increasing its ability to survive and do more damage.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2013.
WATCH OUT FOR CALORIE-PACKED MEALS AT SMALLER RESTAURANTS
If you think you can avoid unhealthy restaurant fare by skipping nationwide chain restaurants for smaller eateries, a new Tufts study has a wake-up call for you. Researchers analyzed meals from independent and small chain restaurants and found the average meal contained two to three times the estimated calorie needs of an individual adult at a single meal and 66% of daily calorie requirements.
The findings come as the restaurant industry prepares to implement new federal rules requiring chains with 20 or more locations to post calorie information. Those rules won’t affect the sort of establishments tested in the Tufts study, which nonetheless account for half of the nation’s restaurant locations.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2013.
I’ve sautéed zucchini, tomatoes and onions together in a skillet but have you had the same combination in a layered casserole that’s baked in the oven?
ZUCCHINI, TOMATO AND ONION CASSEROLE
• 2 to 3 zucchini, peeled and sliced into rings on the diagonal
• 1 large onion, sliced thin
• 3 large tomatoes, sliced
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 teaspoons basil
• 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Rub an oblong 3-quart casserole dish with butter. Line dish with a layer of zucchini, the onions and tomato. TTop with 1/2 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, 1 teaspoon basil and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Dot with butter and repeat layering again. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven for 45 minutes. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings
Source: Adapted from Green Earth Institute recipe, Naperville IL.
I’m not sure you know that cooked carrots are healthier than raw ones. With that in mind include this easy recipe for glazed carrots in your menu plans.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons salad mustard
• 3 cups sliced carrots, crisp-cooked and drained
• 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
• 1 tablespoon snipped parsley
Melt butter in skillet. Stir in brown sugar, mustard and salt. Add cooked carrots; heat, stirring constantly, until carrots are nicely glazed (about 5 minutes). To serve, garnish with chopped parsley. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.
• 3 strips thick sliced bacon
• 1/2 of a large head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
• 1 (14.5 oz) can Del Monte Tomatoes Seasoned with Green Peppers & Onion
• 1/3 cup cider vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or electric skillet until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Stir cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, Cajun seasoning and Tabasco sauce into hot drippings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer 45 minutes. Before serving, chop bacon and sprinkle on top of cabbage mixture. Recipe makes 6 servings.
GOING, GOING, GONE!
There are only a few more copies of my cookbook, “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked it,” available. They can be obtained from me when I’m working weekends at the Bryan Chief or purchased at the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce office on the west side of the square in downtown Bryan. Will there be another cookbook? None is planned although I have thought of compiling a supplement.