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My #1 Tip for a Healthy Heart

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: •

Sodium chloride

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Sea Salt

Rock Salt

Garlic Salt

Chicken Salt

Celery Salt

Herb Salt

Baking Powder

Baking Soda

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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