Sanma Shioyaki, Grilled sanma
New data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known more popularly as "food stamps," reveals that more people than ever are now taking handouts from the federal government to buy food. According to the latest figures, about 45 million individuals living in America are now enrolled in the food stamp program, which is more than double the number that were enrolled in 2003.
The same data, which was compiled for the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2011, shows that total expenditures for the food stamp program have also reached a record $75.7 billion, which is almost double the amount from just three years prior in 2008. The redistribution of taxpayers' wealth via the food stamp program is now the single largest annual expense in the USDA's budget, a serious point of contention in the current political circus.
Vitamin C lowers blood pressure, improves vascular function to lower heart attack and stroke risk
Increased blood pressure, even before clinically diagnosed as hypertension, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Elevations of just 3 to 5 millimeters of mercury can dramatically raise the risk of a fatal heart attack or cerebrovascular event. Nearly 30 percent of US adults have high blood pressure or hypertension that places them at much higher risk for disease progression.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have published the result of a study showing the importance of supplemental vitamin C to lower blood pressure in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Lead study author, Dr. Peter R. Miller commented "Our research suggests a modest blood pressure lowering effect with vitamin C supplementation," noting that vitamin C taken at higher doses than suggested by the recommended daily requirement effectively lowers blood pressure enough to lower risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The study involved a meta-analysis of 29 randomized, controlled and previously published clinical trials that reported systolic or diastolic blood pressure values and also compared vitamin C intake to a placebo. Many nutrition experts believe that large amounts of vitamin C, an essential micronutrient found primarily in fruits and vegetables, could lower blood pressure, but a formal study to test this hypothesis has been lacking.
The researchers found that taking an average of 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily, about five times the recommended daily requirement, reduced blood pressure by 3.84 millimeters of mercury in the short term. Among those diagnosed with hypertension, the drop was nearly 5 millimeters of mercury. While these results may not sound dramatic, they can be sufficient to dramatically lower cardiovascular and stroke risk for the millions of adults diagnosed with mild hypertension.
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