The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Dr. James DiNicolantonio

Without question one of the most common recommendations made when adults visit a medical practitioner is to reduce their sodium consumption. We’ve all been led to believe that salt is about the worst food additive out there and that it will make everybody hypertensive and affect heart and kidney functioning as well.

But much like the castigation of saturated fat, there is another side of this story we’re just now learning. Dietary sodium may have some very important positive attributes. Sodium, it turns out, it is important for the function of the hormone insulin and as such, deficiencies of sodium may relate to diabetes. Other problems that may be associated with not consuming enough salt include sleep dysfunction, poor energy, loss of mental focus, declining athletic performance, and even poor sexual performance.

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Overconsumption of Sodium

The Real Scoop On Salt

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

If you’re like the average American, you’re a bit of a salt addict. More technically, you’re consuming excessive dietary sodium. For most of us, this isn’t too concerning, and this mindset is reflected in our data. We know the average human needs around 500 mg of sodium each day for basic body functions, but Americans consume on average 7 times this number each day. Don’t get me wrong, salt is crucial for the body’s proper function. But, at the excessive levels we’re consuming, salt leads to serious complications like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

In 1975, researchers wanted to determine the effects of our high-salt diet on health. To accomplish this goal, they decided to venture into the rainforest of northern Brazil. Here, they studied the Yanomamo tribe, a group of persons with minimal exposure to the outside world, and coincidentally, a “life-long extreme restriction of dietary sodium.” The fascinating data showed that in this population, blood pressure stabilized after the second decade of life, and did “not systematically increase during subsequent years of life.” If we know that only 11% of males and 7% of females in their 20’s are hypertensive, but that 67% of men and 79% of women will be hypertensive after age 75, then the impact of preventing age-related changes in blood pressure is tremendous. Continue reading

The 5 Keys to Buying Frozen Food

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

When it comes to mealtime, most of us prefer a meal made from fresh produce to its frozen equivalent. But in today’s whirlwind of obligations and timetables, that’s not always a viable option. Luckily, frozen food has come a long way in taste and practicality, contributing to the 224.74 billion dollar annual global market for the products. Supermarkets highlight rows and rows of attractive ready-to-heat appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts, and for many of us, this can be an excellent way to stock up on healthful foods. However, the frozen food department may also be a dangerous place for the health-conscious. Here are the 5 things you need to know to navigate frozen foods successfully:

  1. Buy real foods: The easiest way to successfully buy healthy frozen food is to ensure that you know what you’re buying. For example, if you’re buying strawberries, read the label to make sure the only ingredient is strawberry. The healthiest options in the frozen food section, like the fresh food section, will always be whole, unadulterated foods. Continue reading