Q: I try to limit my family's salt intake, because high blood pressure runs in my husband's family. I found Morton Lite Salt at the store...

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Q: I try to limit my family’s salt intake, because high blood pressure runs in my husband’s family. I found Morton Lite Salt at the store. The package says it has “half the sodium of table salt … , can be used in all your recipes just like regular salt with the same great results. It cooks the same, bakes the same … ” All of that sounds perfect.

But it also says, “For normal healthy people. Not to be used by persons on sodium or potassium restricted diets unless approved by a physician.”

What if I’m making something for guests, and I don’t know the medical status of everyone who might consume some?

A: You have found a reasonable way to cut back on sodium when cooking for your family without giving up the taste of salt entirely.

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Guests who must restrict their intake of sodium more completely should be polite enough to tell you that before they arrive for dinner.

Q: Your column often covers high-cholesterol issues. Why don’t you mention the value of adding a daily dose of organic apple-cider vinegar as a great way of reducing cholesterol?

It’s tasty and a lot cheaper and safer than the medicines the pharmaceutical industry pushes on us.

A: Apple-cider vinegar is a traditional remedy that is often suggested for lowering cholesterol. A Japanese study has shown that acetic acid (vinegar) added to the diet can lower cholesterol and triglycerides in rats (British Journal of Nutrition, May 2006). We have not seen such a study in humans, however.

Q: My husband was diagnosed with diverticulitis. He now avoids seeds and nuts, but a different doctor says food has very little impact. I now give him lots of fruit, yogurt and acidophilus milk, and he is taking FiberCon daily. Is there anything else that might help?

A: Your husband might want to try probiotics (good bacteria). Such products can be purchased under refrigeration in health-food stores. A recent study found that a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine and probiotic VSL3 worked better in recovery from diverticulitis than either treatment alone (International Journal of Colorectal Disease online, March 28, 2007).

Q : I just wanted you to know that I read your column recently about the power of green olives fighting hiccups. My 5-year-old got the hiccups the next day. Guess what? One green olive did the trick.

A: We’re delighted to learn that this unusual remedy worked for your child.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at pharmacy@mindspring.com or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org.

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