Issue: # 3



Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo with HealthCare Insights, LLC.



Greetings Readers,

2010 is now underway and it’s a snowy start for us up in New England.  Here are some brain healthy nutrition ideas to keep you warm this winter.



Salt Free Soups for Brain Health ©2010 Healthcare Insights


Salt-less soups can be made very tasty and delicious.   Add a lot of the following ingredients, choosing ingredients to fit your sense of the particular soups recipe, look, taste, texture and color.

And this is KEY:  add 1/2- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spices to every pot of soup or stew. (The spiceamount depends on the size of your pot!) Cinnamon acts as a flavor enhancer…you shouldn’t taste the cinnamon itself.

§  Aromatic vegetables (onions, leeks, carrots, celery, parsnips),

§  Stock saved from previous days cooking of vegetables, whole potatoes, brown rice, meats, poultry (can be frozen until needed)

§   Chopped or pureed flavorful green vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, escarole/chicory, spinach. Note: kale will add a salty flavor as well.

§  Optional: Fresh Tomatoes also adds flavor, if that flavor works for a particular soup; but do not add canned tomato products as that will introduce salt and spoil your salt-less heart healthy soup.

§  Green herbs, fresh chopped (parsley, dill, coriander, and a smaller amount of rosemary), (use dried when fresh not available).

§  Optional: garlic, diced or minced

§  Optional: mushrooms, sautéed prior to adding. May also add tinge of salty flavor.

§  Ground spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie  spice mix, and depending on soup type, black pepper, other dried herbs such as cumin, fennel, thyme, tarragon, basil, paprika, etc.  Also add a little curry powder and/or cayenne.

§  Seaweed dulse flakes or kelp powder (or whole kelp leaves that are removed before serving). The seaweed not only adds a little sea salt and omega 3’s, but also iodine and other flavors and nutrients from the sea.

§  Any of the following nutrient intense grains and seeds:  ground flax seed, ground wheat germ, rice bran.  Will help thicken the soup and add additional delicious flavors.

§  Optional thickener that will add flavor and nutrition:  bean flour (garbanzo bean, soy bean, etc.)

§  Optional: lentils (can be added at time of soup preparation without precooking or soaking) or any beans (be sure to soak and cook 2 hours before adding); lentils and beans add nutrition and flavor


Half-Teaspoon Less Salt Daily Could Save Your Life and Help Maintain Your Brain ©2010 Healthcare Insights
Everyone Over 50 Needs to Reduce Salt Intake to 1500 mg or Less!

“There is a common misperception that only certain people should reduce their salt intake and that for the vast majority of the population salt reduction is unnecessary,” said Lawrence Appel and Cheryl Anderson of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in an editorial published Jan 21st, 2010 in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). “The opposite is true. For adults who reach the age of 50 years, the lifetime risk that hypertension will develop is 90 percent.”

Previous studies have suggested that taking steps to stave off heart disease, such as reducing blood pressure, and diabetes may also improve the chances of avoiding dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as slowing progression.

Salt, which contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease, is widely overused in the United States, with 75 to 80 percent coming from processed food. Excess salt also contributes to risks for stomach cancer, kidney disease, congestive heart failure and osteoporosis.  Americans typically consume 2-3 times the recommended amounts of salt and sodium. Men typically consume 10.4 grams per day. For women, the average is 7.3 grams. Its use is rising, despite clear health risks.

Dr. Emerson Lombardo and HealthCare Insights are working with individuals, assisted living and other residential group settings, to dramatically reduce salt consumption while increasing brain healthy foods.

Salt reduction lowers blood pressure, so a cutback of just 1 gram per day would have substantial benefits in about one-third of adults with high blood pressure, the study said.  A reduction of 1 gram would prevent 11,000 to 23,000 strokes, 18,000 to 35,000 heart attacks and 15,000 to 32,000 deaths from any cause, the researchers reported in NEJM.

Consuming just half a teaspoon (3 grams) less salt each day may save as many as 92,000 US deaths and as much as $24 billion in medical costs a year, this study found. A 3-gram daily salt reduction per person would lower annual cases of heart disease and stroke by about one-third.

Women would benefit the most according to the researchers.

Reducing salt intake would improve health as much as quitting smoking, losing weight, and taking medications for lowering cholesterol, the researchers found. Reducing salt intake by 3 grams would have equivalent public health benefits to reducing smoking prevalence by 50 percent.

Additional health benefits expected from salt reduction not covered by the study include benefits to children’s health, and non-heart related diseases.

The American Heart Association has recently lowered its recommended amount of daily sodium intake by 35% to less than 1,500 milligrams from 2,300 milligrams. There are 1500 mgs sodium in 4 grams of salt. This means that all current packaging labels greatly understate the new recommended requirements.

For example a can of soup whose label says 35% of daily intake of sodium is actually 47% of the new limit.  Anyone with high blood pressure or who is elderly may need an even lower intake than the new AHA recommended daily allowance. Check with your physician for what intake is best for you.

Sodium is found in a number of products. Those include monosodium glutamate and baking soda and baking powder. Thus most leavened baked products that use baking soda or powder instead of yeast have 10-15% of the former recommended daily limit on sodium intake, and as much as 20% of the new daily limit.

New York City health officials are pushing for a reduction in the amount of salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over the next five years, since Americans consume about twice the recommended daily amount of salt, city officials said. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently changed other city health regulations, cutting trans fats in eateries and requiring fast-food restaurant menus to list calories. Other cities such as Boston and Cambridge, MA have followed NYC’s example.  We may expect to see New York City leading the US in instituting salt reduction practices. Getting the national government and US food manufacturers to change policies and practices is much more difficult proposition, even though public health and saving health care dollars requires it.

“Even if the federal government were to bear the entire cost of a regulatory program designed to reduce salt consumption, the government would still be expected to realize cost savings for Medicare, saving $6 to $12 in health expenditures for each dollar spent on the regulatory program,” the researchers wrote.

The study was done by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco, at Stanford University, and at Columbia University using a computer model of coronary heart disease in US residents age 35 and older.

This article based on articles on the Boston Globe, Reuters, Boston University, HealthCare Insights websites.  Fri Jan 22, 2010 Alexandra Thomas, Bloomberg News  Thurs Jan 21, 2010 Gene Emery Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:35pm EST Kate Kelland

/2009/features/offering_hope.shtml  Maggie Bucholt


Should the Salt You Use Be Sea Salt©2010 Healthcare Insights
Use Sea Salt for Flavor & Unprocessed Qualities.

Use Kelp & Seaweed for Additional Nutrition Needed For Healthy Blood Pressure And Iodine.


While there’s much on the internet on the benefits of sea salt vs. regular table salt, it is hard to find scientific references.  The first point to be made is that sea salt and kosher salt are still mainly salt (Mayo clinic Thus one needs to keep one’s intake of salt to under 1500mg per day, with whatever salt you ingest.  For the salt that you have a choice about, the strongest arguments favoring sea salt, are 1) That sea salt tastes better, 2) is unrefined and 3) contains from the sea traces of the other elements needed to balance sodium in the blood and body.

Typical websites report health benefits of sea salt which sound believable based on its unprocessed nature, but offer no scientific references to back them up. One website reports “The potassium, calcium, and magnesium that sea salt contain have many beneficial effects. Potassium helps in keeping the moisture of the skin in balance and also provides energy to the body. It also helps to relax the muscles and relieve its stiffness. Calcium not only strengthens bones, but also prevents the retention of water and increases circulation. Magnesium too fights the retention of fluids and also helps to fight stress. Moreover, it has a calming effect on the nervous system and helps in slowing down the aging of skin. When unprocessed sea salt is eaten, it immediately starts the process of digestion by working with the saliva. The more there are minerals in the mouth, the better the digestion that takes place. This digestive process carries on in the stomach.”

However, a nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic asserts that the amount of these important minerals in sea salt is too modest to make a health difference.

The other reported benefit of sea salt in better flavor, and this is verified by culinary experts. “Unrefined sea salt has a clean, pure and bright flavor, and when added to food it enhances the taste subtly due to its trace elements.”

CHERYL K. FRANCHI, MS, MBA, RD, LD, FADA, a leader among consulting nutritionists in New England, agrees with our conclusions about sea salt as well as those of the Mayo Clinic.  Ms. Franchi, named Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, New Hampshire, 1998 and Aramark’s Food Services Director of the Year in 1990, reviewed this article for HCI.


The other reported benefit of sea salt in better flavor, and this is verified by culinary experts. “Unrefined sea salt has a clean, pure and bright flavor, and when added to food it enhances the taste subtly due to its trace elements.”

The major health caution is that both sea salt and Kosher salt contain no iodine, which is added to refined table salt. Since iodine is absolutely essential for health (especially for thyroid function and metabolism),  you need to be sure to get your150 mcg/day iodine from other sources, mainly foods from the sea – e.g. fish and other sea animals, and sea vegetables. Land-grown vegetables are an unreliable source since only those grown in iodine-rich soil contain iodine.  Our favorite vegetable source of iodine is kelp or seaweed, which contains iodine along with many other sea minerals and some omega-3’s. Seaweed contains small amount of salt so we prefer to use it as our source of salt flavor; we prefer it even to sea salt, wherever it can be substituted.  A small amount of kelp or seaweed contains an amazing amount of nutrients.   For instance, one tablespoon of red dulse flakes contain only 4% of sodium daily intake, along with 173% of iodine RDA, 11% potassium, 5% of magnesium, 11% fluoride, 6% chromium, 14% iron, 2% zinc, and surprise, a lot of B Vitamins.  That same one tablespoon contains 30% of vitamin B6 RDA, 17%, vitamin B 12, 7% riboflavin, together with 1 gram of protein, 7%  of fiber requirements, and no sugar. Kelp powder has similar nutritional value.

Bottom line: Use sea salt for its unprocessed nature and better flavor but more importantly, add kelp or seaweed to your diet to get more of the trace elements and iodine that are essential for health including balancing sodium intake in your body and brain.





NIH reminds us, “your body needs some sodium to work properly. It helps with the function of nerves and muscles. It also helps to keep the right balance of fluids in your body. Your kidneys control how much sodium is in your body. If you have too much and your kidneys can’t get rid it, sodium builds up in your blood. This can lead to high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can lead to other health problems.”

Processed foods account for most of the sodium and salt consumed so be sure to check food labels.  Sodium is in some foods you might not expect, such as all baked goods, some a

ntacids, as well as in most store-bought condiments, such as soy sauce (very high), prepared salad dressings, mustard, ketchup, relish, and, of course, olives and pickles. (Source: HCI and )

In addition to our bottom line conclusions, we liked what Whole Food website had to say about salt (see below),

“Salt: Good vs. Evil

Like the rebellious kids your parents didn’t want you to play with, salt has developed a bad reputation. But the body actually needs sodium to regulate many of its functions, including heartbeat, nerve impulses and circulatory volume. It’s only when consumed in excessive amounts that it reportedly contributes to high blood pressure, kidney disease and fluid retention.

Very little salt is required-perhaps less than a third of a teaspoon a day- to get the sodium necessary for good health. The majority of people can consume salt in moderate amounts without consequence but many cultures have acquired a taste for salt that borders on addiction.

For this reason, avoid salt in highly processed snacks and convenience foods, or use these tricks to reduce your salt intake:

  • Substitute herbs, spices or citrus zest for salt.
  • Rinse high-sodium foods like pickles, olives and canned vegetables and beans in fresh water before eating.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in potassium, which complements sodium and contributes to a healthy balance of the two elements in the body.



We would add to this good advice,

  • Eat more sea vegetables
  • Use sea salt instead of table salt, so long as you get the needed iodine from sea vegetables.




Recipe of the Month:
Carrot Pureed Soup ©2010 Healthcare Insights

MPN™ Carrot Pureed Soup – aBrain Healthy Recipe[1]

Yield:  10 – 12 servings

    INGREDIENTS                                           AMOUNT

Ripe tomatoes peeled (save peels for stock pot 8 – 9
Onions, diced

3 large thinly sliced leeks may be substituted

1 very large onion or 3 small
Celery, thinly sliced 1 medium bunch
Garlic, finely diced 2 cloves
Carrots, thinly sliced 6 pounds
Whole wheat pastry flour 3 tbsp
Canola oil/Olive oil (or butter) 3 tbsp
Water 4 cups
Nutmeg ¼ tsp
Ginger ¼ tsp
Cinnamon ½ tsp
Bay leaf 1
Tarragon ½ tsp
Kelp Powder ¼ tsp
White pepper ¼ tsp
Stevia powder (or raw sugar) Tiny pinch
Arrowroot powder mixed to a paste/roux with 1 tbsp of water (optional thickener)[1] 1 ½ tsp
At end to finish: Yogurt (may substitute light cream) ½ cup
Chopped fresh parsley (Italian flat or curled) For sprinkling on top 2 tbsp




1.   Quarter tomatoes, remove seeds and strain.  Reserve juice.

2.   Cook the celery, leeks and carrots in the oil for a few minutes to soften but not until brown, sweat.

3.   Stir in the whole-wheat flour.

4.   Add the tomato flesh and juice, water, sugar, and seasonings.

5.   Stir the mixture until it comes to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

6.    Remove the Bay Leaf and puree mixture in a blender or food processor.



1.   Return to the pot to reheat.  Take care not to scorch bottom of pot.

2.   If the soup needs thickening, stir in the arrowroot paste and bring to a boil.

3.   Adjust seasonings and simmer for a few seconds.

4.   Stir in the yogurt (or light cream).

5.   Put into serving bowls and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

6.   Serve

[1]Adaptedfollowing Memory Preservation Nutrition® program by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.

© 2008 Nancy Emerson Lombardo Ph.D., and colleagues, HealthCare Insights, LLC Feb 2008    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, Photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Health. Care Insights, LLC.  Direct correspondence to Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D.   978-621-1926


For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact me for further information or to book an appointment.  978-621-1926 or email at



Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × = 32

wordpress best themes - 2012 wordpress theme - magazine wordpress themes