Heart Healthy Foods

healthyHealthfinder.gov suggests you follow these eating tips for a healthy heart:

  1. Eat less saturated and trans fat. Stay away from fatty meats, fried foods, cakes, and cookies.
  2. Cut down on sodium (salt). Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” brands of canned soups, vegetables, snack foods, and lunch meats.
  3. Get more fiber. Fiber is in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Take this list with you the next time you go food shopping.

Healthy Vegetables and Fruits

Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits. To save money, buy vegetables and fruits that are in season, frozen, or canned.

  • Fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, and spinach
  • Leafy greens for salads
  • Canned vegetables low in sodium (salt)
  • Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauces
  • Fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, pears, and peaches
  • Canned fruit in 100% juice, not syrup
  • Dried fruit
  • Frozen berries without added sugar

Healthy Milk and Milk Products

Look for fat-free or low-fat milk products. Or choose soy products with added calcium.

  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Cheese (3 grams of fat or less per serving)
  • Soy-based drinks with added calcium (soymilk)

Healthy Breads, Cereals, and Grains

For products with more than one ingredient, make sure whole-wheat or whole-grain is listed first.

  • 100% whole-wheat bread
  • Whole-grain breakfast cereals like oatmeal
  • Whole grains such as brown or wild rice, barley, and bulgur
  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta

Healthy Meat, Beans, Eggs, and Nuts

Choose lean cuts of meat and other foods with protein.

  • Seafood, including fish and shellfish
  • Chicken and turkey breast without skin
  • Pork: leg, shoulder, tenderloin
  • Beef: round, sirloin, tenderloin, extra lean ground beef
  • Beans, lentils, and peas
  • Eggs and egg substitutes
  • Nuts and seeds

Healthy Fats and Oils

Cut back on saturated fat and look for healthy products with no trans fats.

  • Margarine and spreads (soft, tub, or liquid) with no trans fats
  • Vegetable oil (canola, olive, peanut, or sesame oil)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Light or fat-free salad dressing and mayonnaise

 

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Reducing Sodium in Restaurant Foods

 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shares the following press release reminding us to consider how much sodium we may be consuming when we eat out.

Americans eat out at fast food or dine-in restaurants four or five times a week. Just one of those meals might contain more than an entire day’s recommended amount of sodium.  CDC has strategies for health departments and restaurants to work together to offer healthier choices for consumers who want to lower their sodium intake. The report, “From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants,” is published in the CDC’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

sodiumOn average, foods from fast food restaurants contain 1,848 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories and foods from dine-in restaurants contain 2,090 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories.

The U. S. Dietary Guidelines recommend the general population limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.

“The bottom line is that it’s both possible and life-saving to reduce sodium, and this can be done by reducing, replacing and reformulating,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “When restaurants rethink how they prepare food and the ingredients they choose to use, healthier options become routine for customers.”

The report outlines several ways health departments and restaurants have worked together to offer lower-sodium choices:

  • Health department dietitians help restaurants analyze the sodium content of their foods and recommend lower-sodium ingredients.
  • Restaurants clearly post nutrition information, including sodium content, at the order counter and on menus or offer lower-sodium items at lower cost.
  • Health departments and restaurants explain to food service staff why lower sodium foods are healthier and how to prepare them.

The report also features examples of sodium reduction successes.  In Philadelphia, the health department worked with 206 restaurants to create the “Philadelphia Healthy Chinese Take-out Initiative.”  After evaluating menus for sodium content, participating restaurants began choosing lower sodium ingredients and creating lower sodium recipes. After nine months, analyses of two popular dishes offered by 20 of the restaurants showed sodium was reduced by 20 percent.

“The story in Philadelphia shows what can be done,” Dr. Frieden said. “It’s not about giving up the food you love, but providing lower sodium options that taste great.”

To learn more about sodium and how it affects health, visit www.cdc.gov/salt.  Reducing sodium is one way that Million Hearts, a national public-private initiative to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, is working with communities to keep people healthier and less likely to need health care www.millionhearts.hhs.gov.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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Is Your Child Consuming Too Much Sodium

sodium

 The September 2014 edition of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Vital Signs focuses on the amount of sodium in children’s diets.

Reducing Sodium in Children’s Diets

Nearly 9 in 10 US children eat more sodium than recommended, and about 1 in 6 children has raised blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Lowering sodium in children’s diets today can help prevent heart disease tomorrow. Small changes make a big impact on your child’s daily sodium intake. Learn more in the current CDC Vital Signs.

Sources of Sodium

Americans get most of their daily sodium—more than 75%—from processed and restaurant foods.2 What is processed food?

Sodium is already in processed and restaurant foods when you purchase them, which makes it difficult to reduce daily sodium intake on your own. Although it is wise to limit your use of added table salt while cooking and at the table, only a small amount of the sodium we consume each day comes from the salt shaker.

Dietary Guidelines for Sodium and Potassium

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010[PDF-2.9M] recommend that everyone age 2 and up should consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. Some groups of people should further limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, including:

  • Adults age 51 or older.
  • All African Americans.
  • Anyone who has high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Those groups add up to about half of the U.S. population and the majority of adults.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans also recommend meeting the potassium recommendation (4,700 mg per day). Higher potassium intake can help lower blood pressure. Foods that are high in potassium and low in sodium include bananas, potatoes, yogurt, and dry beans, among others. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sodium and Potassium fact sheet[PDF-153K] has more information about the role of potassium in a healthy diet and a list of foods rich in potassium.

Nearly everyone benefits from lower sodium intake. Learn more about sodium in your diet in Where’s the Sodium?, a February 2012 report from CDC Vital Signs.

 

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Why are Fast Foods So Salty in U.S.and Canada ?

Did you ever read the salt content of fast foods? Scary! What is even scarier is the news that the same fast foods sold abroad have less salt in them.

According to a study that appeared in the April 16 issues of the  Canadian Medical Association’s journal, CMAJ there are significant differences in the amount of salt in fast foods sold in fast-food restaurants in the U.S., Canada and other countries.

Study researchers examined the salt content of more than 2,100 food items in seven product categories sold by Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Subway in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

fastResearchers found that McDonald’s fast food Chicken McNuggets in Canada contained 2.5 times more sodium than those in the United Kingdom. There were 600 milligrams of sodium (1.5 grams of salt) in a 3.5-ounce serving in Canada, but the same serving size in the United Kingdom contained 240 milligrams of sodium (0.6 grams of salt).

Norman Campbell, of the University of Calgary, and colleagues, said in a journal news release that”Canadian companies indicate they have been working to reduce sodium but the high sodium in these foods indicates voluntary efforts aren’t working.

These high levels indicate failure of the current government approach that leaves salt reduction solely in the hands of industry,” the researchers reported. “Salt-reduction programs need to guide industry and oversee it with targets and timelines for foods, monitoring and evaluation, and stronger regulatory measures if the structured voluntary efforts are not effective.”

The researchers concluded,”Decreasing salt in fast foods would appear to be technically feasible, and is likely to produce important gains in population health — the average salt levels of fast foods are high, and these foods are eaten often.”

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, April 11, 2012

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What’s With All the Sodium?

The Center’s for Disease Control(CDC) wants you to know that there’s too much sodium in many common foods.

The CDC Vital Signs program is a call to action each month concerning a single, important public health topic. For American Heart Month, the February edition of CDC Vital Signs focuses on the amount of sodium in Americans’ diets and what we can do to reduce it.

sodiumAbout 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.

Too much sodium increases a person’s risk for high blood pressure. High blood pressure often leads to heart disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases.

Key Messages

  • About 90% of Americans aged 2 years and older eat too much sodium.
  • Reducing the sodium Americans eat by 1200 mg per day on average could save $20 billion a year in medical costs.
  • Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and foods prepared in restaurants.

  • 44% of the sodium we eat comes from 10 types of foods.
  • Different brands of the same foods may have different sodium levels. For example, sodium in chicken noodle soup can vary by as much as 840 milligrams (mg) per serving so be sure to read the labels on foods.
  • Over 800,000 people die each year from heart disease, stroke and other vascular diseases, costing the nation $273 billion health care dollars in 2010.

What to Do About It:

  • Check the sodium content listed on  he nutrition label on everything you buy.
  • Check the menu information as to sodium content in the restaurants where you eat before you make your selection
  • Don’t salt your food at the table
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