Happy Friday friends. I will be resuming my series on Nutrient Requirements for Active people next week but today since it’s Heart Month, I wanted to bring you some tips on eating for your heart. As always don’t forget to link-up with FYI Friday at the bottom of the post.
GoodLife Fitness is working on a 28 day Healthy Heart Challenge that encompasses exercise & nutrition. As I mentioned Monday, I want to promote heart health and prevention in any way possible so I’m joining this challenge in addition to my 10,000 steps a day challenge & #LoveYourButt Challenge and you should too!
It may seem like a lot challenges but they are all really focusing on the same thing, getting my body moving. Plus, I really do heart exercise!
Of course exercise is great but diet is equally if not more important when it comes to your heart health. So let’s chat about ways to reduce sodium in your diet for heart health.
1. Cut back on bread
Did you know that bread is actually one of the top contributors of salt to our diets? Each slice contains about 150mg. If you have two pieces of toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch you are already at 600mg sodium, almost half of the recommended daily intake.
Pro Tip: Read the labels on your bread and look for lower sodium options. Or if you’re feeling really ambitious, bake your own so you can control the amount of salt added.
2. Eat out less often
Most restaurant food is loaded with sodium and it’s not always what you think either. A Tim Horton’s grilled cheese panini has 1320mg sodium which is actually less than a McDonalds Big Mac which has 970mg.
Pro Tip: A lot of restaurants have their nutritional information posted online. Take a look at the nutrition facts before you go to order so you can make informed decision for your health.
3. Buy reduced sodium products…but be careful
A lot of manufacturers are responding to consumer demand to reduce sodium in products which is great however, you sometimes need to be careful with products touting a low sodium label. When you remove salt from a product, the taste is affected, sometimes added sugar or fat will be added to make the taste better.
I buy low sodium products depending on what I am buying. For example, when buying canned tomatoes or tomato sauces I look for no salt added varieties. When buying spices, look for no salt added varieties. But when buying something like a low sodium cracker, check the label. You might find added sugars and fats which won’t make the product healthier overall.
Pro Tip: Rinse canned products like beans, vegetables, etc to reduce the salt before consuming
4. Watch the sauce
Sauces and condiments are full of salt and it’s easy to load them on top of foods. To reduce salt watch portion sizes of sauces/condiments, look for low-salt versions of your favourite condiments or make your own sauces.
Pro tip: Learn to use herbs & spices in cooking and prepping sauces instead of salt. The flavour is better and it’s better for your health. Check out my low-sodium pesto tomato sauce.
5. Learn your biggest sodium contributors
We all eat differently and have different foods that contribute to our sodium intake. A great tool is the Project Big Life Sodium calculator. The survey will take you about 10-15 minutes. At the end you will get an idea of the average amount of salt you are consuming and what your biggest contributors are so that you can target those areas.