The Sodium Tip
Eating a lot of sodium or salt, contributes to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table, or while cooking, is a good first step. However, much of your salt intake comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked goods and frozen dinners.
Eat fresh, by cooking your own foods, that way you will know exactly how much sodium is in your food.
Many condiments are high in sodium, so choose reduced-sodium versions. There are many salt substitutes to add flavour to your food.
High Salt Diet ⇒ Fluid retention ⇒ Increases blood pressure ⇒ Increases stress on heart
It is important to read labels correctly, as perceived ‘healthy’ foods, often contain extra saturated fat and high salt (sodium). Saturated and trans fat are those to be avoided as they create inflammation in arteries.
Good fats to consume are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as they may help lower your total blood cholesterol. However, moderation is key, as all types of fat are high in calories, and excess weight contributes to high blood pressure.
How to Read Labels for Heart Health.
Here’s what to look out for specifically for heart health:
Sodium :Look for 400mg (maximum) per 100 grams of sodium, with less than 120mg per 100grams best
Sugar: Look for under 15mg of sugar per 100grams, with less than 10mg per 100grams best
Total Fat: Look for less than 10g per 100grams.
For milk and yoghurt: Look for less than 2g per 100grams
For cheese: Look for 15g per 100 grams
Saturated fat: Aim for less than 3 grams per 100grams
Fibre: Aim for 3 grams or more per serve
Look for product labels with “No added Salt” or “Low Salt”
Alternative names for salt in food: •
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Additives: eg sodium sorbate, sodium nitrite
Reducing sodium is very important for heart health.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), is an eating plan to lower or control high blood pressure. The DASH diet includes foods that are low in sodium, rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, the nutrients valuable at lowering blood pressure.
The DASH Diet includes:
Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils
Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as palm kernel and palm oils
Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
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