Soup answer leaves a reader boiling

People's Pharmacy

March 24, 1998|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I couldn't believe your answer to the controlling granny who wants to feed her grandkids ramen soup despite the parents' objections that it's salty. You said healthy kids won't be harmed. She will, no doubt, wave this under her daughter-in-law's nose.

Why not toss the seasoning packet and substitute a light broth made from real chicken? I am the kind of grandmother who respects the boundaries set by my daughter and son-in-law while bonding lovingly with my grandchildren. Don't you know it's not about noodles?

We didn't imagine this issue was part of a family power struggle. We heard from another reader who said: "As an older woman, I also enjoy ramen. I cut back on the sodium by skipping the flavor packet or just using part of it."

The controversy about sodium has surfaced anew in a recent study published in The Lancet (March 14, 1998). The people who ate the least sodium had the highest risk of dying. This does not mean that people should eat more salt, but it does suggest that restricting sodium intake is not necessary or desirable for everyone.

My husband suffered a massive stroke in 1994. After not being expected to ever be able to do anything for himself again, he is now functioning without his wheelchair or walker and gets around with just a cane.

He was given Pravachol for a year and then Zocor, both of which had devastating effects. These drugs zapped his energy. He became depressed and apathetic. Instead of walking to the gym to work out, he just sat around the house. His personality changed and he became argumentative and hostile, which was totally unlike him.

I finally got his doctor's permission to stop the Zocor. Within 10 days he was back to his old self and exercising again. The doctor said he had never heard of such a thing. Have you?

What about garlic or other natural ways to lower cholesterol?

Cholesterol may influence mood. A recent article in the Annals of Internal Medicine (March 15, 1998) found a "connection between low or lowered cholesterol levels and violence."

The author suggests that this could be due to diminished brain serotonin levels in people with reduced blood cholesterol. Low serotonin is also linked to depression. Maintaining your husband's commitment to exercise and to resuming a normal life may be as important to his health as controlling his cholesterol.

There are several nondrug approaches to cholesterol control. One is psyllium seed fiber, found in Metamucil and other laxatives. Fish oil has also been effective in some studies. The B vitamin niacin can lower cholesterol, but requires medical supervision.

Garlic also lowers cholesterol and may provide anti-clotting protection. If your husband is taking a blood thinner, however, garlic and fish oil might pose a risk. Make sure his doctor is informed of your plans.

I felt sorry for the lady whose son had trouble with warts. Many years ago I had a number of warts on my hands and feet. I soaked the warts in castor oil morning and evening and they were gone in a week. In 35 years they haven't come back.

Castor oil is an old-time wart remedy. Thanks for reminding us.

Write to the Graedons in care of The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or e-mail to

King Features Syndicate

Pub Date: 3/24/98

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