Health bites

Research refutes previous evidence linking blood pressure to diet and weight

Diet can’t offset salt’s effect on blood pressure

People who eat lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains may still have an increased risk of elevated blood pressure if they consume a lot of salt, a new study suggests.

Eating high-sodium foods has long been associated with raised blood pressure readings, but some evidence suggests that body weight and other nutrients in the diet may modify or offset the effects of sodium on blood pressure.

To see how diet might influence the connection between salt and blood pressure, researchers examined data from food surveys completed by 4,680 middle-aged adults, and determined the amount of 80 nutrients in each person's diet.

With the exception of potassium, none of these nutrients appeared to weaken the connection between eating a high-sodium diet and having higher average blood pressure readings, researchers report in the journal Hypertension.

"The problem of excess salt intake and its adverse effects on blood pressure cannot be solved by augmenting the diet with other nutrients," said lead study author Dr Jeremiah Stamler of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. - REUTERS

Cleaning products affect lung function

Women who are regularly exposed to cleaning products may face a steeper decline in lung function over time, according to an international study.

Women who used sprays or other cleaning products at least once per week had a more accelerated decline than women who didn't, the study's authors wrote.

"We're cleaning in our houses every day and every week. It's important to have this discussion about cleaning and what we do in our homes," said lead study author Dr Oistein Svanes of the University of Bergen, Norway.

According to the American Lung Association, lung function slowly declines after about age 35.

Over the two decades of the study, women not working as cleaners and not involved in cleaning at home showed the slowest declines in lung function.

In comparison, women who used sprays or other cleaning products at least once a week had a faster decline in lung function. The decline was faster still for women who worked as cleaners. - REUTERS