Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: March 11th, 2013
Is salt the trigger for M.S.?

Yale researchers believe so. According to Yale News, “in the March 6 issue of the journal Nature, Yale researchers showed that salt can induce and worsen pathogenic immune system responses in mice and that the response is regulated by genes already implicated in a variety of autoimmune diseases.”

What prompted the study is the alarming increase in the numbers of diagnosed cases of Multiple Sclerosis in the past few decades. According to the Yale News, the research was also inspired, in part, “by an observation that eating at fast-food restaurants tended to trigger an increase in production of inflammatory cells, which are mobilized by the immune system to respond to injury or pathogens but which, in autoimmune diseases, attack healthy tissue.”

That’s right: fast food, most of which is loaded with sodium and dietary salt, is linked to yet another health problem.

How much salt should we be eating? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day—or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. How much is that, in layman’s terms?  One teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 milligrams (mg) of sodium.

Foods to avoid: Processed foods, the salt shaker on your table, and fast food. Also, try reading the labels of some of your favorite foods for sodium content. You’d be surprised what foods already contain sodium–things such as low fat milk, cereal, salad dressings, and condiments. Click here for more.

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