Cut back on Salt, Experts Advise

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Updated 21 November 2012

Cut back on Salt, Experts Advise

We eat many things everyday without knowing their effects on our health. Salt is a very important ingredient in our daily food intake, whether it is in the form of fruit salt, vegetable salt, or the salt we consume in cooked food. 
It might come as a surprise to some people, that it’s not the salt we add to our meals, but also the salt inside many food products, that could be putting our health at risk. 
According to the experts too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, and create coronary heart disease. From the doctors and nutrition experts’ point of view, it is important not to take more than the recommended amount of salt for a healthy heart. 
“Reducing salt intake helps to reduce blood pressure levels. While a higher intake of salt causes a plethora of health problems like hypertension, heart diseases (heart failure), stroke, kidney failure, bloating and other health problems.” Said Dr. Syed Anwar Khursheed, ICU Physician at King Faisal Hospital Taif.
He further said table salt is composed of 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. The maximum recommended level of sodium intake for adults is 2,300 mg per day, which is equal to one scant teaspoon of salt. 
Arab News talked to a few people, who suffer from high blood pressure, to learn more about what their doctors recommended, and the types of problems they face. 
According to Sayed Vaseeq, a travel agent who has been suffering from high blood pressure for the past 5 years, “It is very important to closely monitor your diet if you have high blood pressure, especially your salt intake, as the slightest increase of salt in your food, can have detrimental health consequences. One must especially be careful when eating in restaurants because the food tends to be saltier.” 
Vaseeq further added, “for expatriates living away from their families, monitoring the food we eat, and ensuring we don’t consume too much salt, is more difficult because we tend to eat in restaurants most of the time.” He also added, that the lifestyle in Saudi Arabia makes it all the more challenging to remain healthy as physical activity is limited. 
“My doctor recommended that I walk everyday, but because I work a double-shift job, I can’t go for long walks but I always try to go for short walks as I feel it is very beneficial to my health, ” he said. 
Abu Ahmed, another high blood pressure patient said his blood pressure problem was controlled by medication. However, despite taking a daily pill, his doctor stressed that he should lower his salt consumption. ” I use salt alternatives, because I personally enjoy food that is salty, and haven’t been able to change my food preference. Salt alternatives are available in the market, and do not have adverse effects on the health,” he said. 
 Tanzeem Saleem Al-Rahman suffers from both high blood pressure and diabetes, and is on medication. However despite his doctor’s repeated advice to lower his salt intake and to watch his diet, he is unable to reduce the amount of salt in his food, because food doesn’t taste good to him without salt. 
“I know I shouldn’t be doing this, as I have recently also suffered from kidney problems. I am trying really hard to cut down on my salt intake, but it remains very difficult for me,” said Al-Rahman. 
Nutrition experts advise people to watch out for food like chips, salted nuts, canned sauces and soups, black beans and canned vegetables when grocery shopping.  Experts also warn about all ready-made meals as they typically contain a lot of salt, as do some types of breads, cereals, cakes and biscuits. 
As such, nutritionists advice us to carefully read the nutrition labels when purchasing food, and encourage us to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. 
According to Khairunissa Khan a mother, our food intake and lifestyle are key to leading a healthy life. “As a mother, I try to instill healthy eating habits within my children at an early age, and I encourage any type of physical activity. It is very unfortunate how the levels of child obesity and diabetes are on the rise in the Kingdom.
“I also try to pay close attention to the food labels and nutrition facts on the items I purchase from the supermarket, to ensure they do not contain more than the recommended GDA for salt. Adding salt to food while cooking is a hard habit to break, however I try to cut down on the amount of salt I use in preparing my family’s meals, and I avoid putting salt on the dining table,” Khan added. 

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Baby Talk: Conditions to be aware of in newborns

If your child’s abdomen feels swollen and hard, you should seek medical advice. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 January 2020

Baby Talk: Conditions to be aware of in newborns

  • Here are three physical conditions that are especially common in the weeks following birth. If you notice any of the following in your baby, contact your doctor or health center straight away

Abdominal Distension

Most babies’ tummies are normally rounded, especially after a large feed. Between feeds, however, they should feel quite soft and not stick out. If your child’s abdomen feels swollen and hard, or if they have not had a bowel movement for more than one or two days, you should seek medical advice. Most likely the problem is due to wind or constipation, but don’t take chances and seek the advice.

Birth Injuries

Labor is can be a strenuous time for both mum and baby, and it is possible for babies to be injured during birth, especially when babies are very large. While newborns recover quickly from some of these injuries, others may last for some time. Quite often the injury is a collar bone, which will heal quickly if the arm on that side is kept relatively still.  Don’t worry if a small lump forms over the site of the fracture. This is just part of the body’s healing process and is a sign that things are normal.

Labor is can be a strenuous time for both mum and baby, and it is possible for babies to be injured during birth, especially when babies are very large. (Shutterstock)

 Muscle weakness in a newborn baby is a common birth injury, caused during labor. However, muscles, usually weakened on one side of the face or one shoulder or arm, generally return to normal after a few weeks.  During this time it might be wise to ask advice on how to hold your baby to promote healing or at least prevent aggravation.

Blue Baby Syndrome

Babies sometimes have mildly blue hands and feet, but this may not be a cause for concern. Their hands and feet might turn slightly blue due to the cold, but they should return to normal as soon as they are warm. Occasionally, the face, tongue, and lips may turn a little blue when the newborn is crying hard, but once he becomes calm, his color in these parts of the body should quickly return to normal. However, persistently blue skin coloring, especially with breathing difficulties and feeding difficulties, is a sign that the heart or lungs are not operating properly, and the baby is not getting enough oxygen in the blood. Immediate medical attention is essential.