Be Good To Your Blood Pressure. Eat Less Salt (sodium).

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that sodium is a major cause of high blood pressure.  Choosing recipes that are lower in sodium, like this Penne Rigate Bruschetta Pasta (http://www.catellihealthyharvest.ca/en_CA/recipe/hearth_healthy/penne-rigate-bruschetta-pasta/) is good for your blood pressure and your health.

Question of the Day

Is high blood pressure really that dangerous?  Yes.  The World Health Organization considers high blood pressure the number one risk factor for death in the world.  It leads to heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and kidney failure.  Too much sodium in the diet also increases your risk of stomach cancer, hardening of the arteries and can be bad for your bones.

Research Highlight

The DASH Sodium Trial (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) was the largest study to look at how high, medium and low intakes of sodium (3,300 mg, 2,400 mg and 1,500 mg per day) impact blood pressure in men and women. Results were consistent: the lower the amount of sodium in the diet, the lower the blood pressure, for both those with and without high blood pressure.  Everyone benefits from eating less salt.

“How To” Advice

Adults should have no more than 1500 mg of sodium daily.  Most Canadians eat more than twice that amount.  Stay within the recommended limit by having no more than 400 mg of sodium per meal and 200 mg per snack (based on three meals and two snacks daily).  While it’s great to avoid the salt shaker, understand that as much as 80% of the sodium most people consume comes from restaurant meals and packaged, processed foods.  Enjoy more home-cooked meals made with little or no salt.  When shopping read food labels.  Choose brands that are lower in sodium.

Label Reading Confusion

Foods that are labeled “reduced in sodium” can still be very high in salt.  A “sodium reduced” product must contain at least 25% less sodium than the regular product.

Some products, however, like soy sauce, are so high in salt to begin with that even “sodium reduced” varieties contain as much as 600 mg of sodium per tablespoon.

Question of the Day?

Is “sea salt” healthier than regular table salt?  No.  All types of salt are high in sodium and can increase your risk of high blood pressure.  Less is best, no matter what type you use.

Taste Tip

Get rid of the salt, but don’t lose the flavor.  Learn to cook and prepare foods with onions, garlic, herbs, spices, lemon or lime juice or zest, flavored vinegars or oils and salt-free seasoning blends, instead of salt.  Crushed red pepper is especially great for adding a zing to soups, salads, stir-fries, eggs, pasta and meat dishes.

No Excuses

If you think you can’t get used to eating less salt, research says otherwise.  Although scientists believe we’re born with a preference for salty flavor, there is good evidence that the amount of salt we like is learned.  By reducing our sodium intake gradually, over a period of 8 to 12 weeks, studies show we can learn to accept and truly enjoy foods that are lower in sodium.  Start making less salty choices today!


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Blood Pressure | Cancer | Healthy Cooking | Heart Health | Lifestyle | Myths | Portions | Recipes | Sodium |