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Whole Grains Health

15 Foods and How to Swap



Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in some foods but is added to many others in the form of sodium chloride. This salt can be added during the preparation or manufacture of food.

Just 1 teaspoon of salt contains around 2,300 mg of sodium – worth a whole day! That makes it really easy to overdo it with this savory ingredient. In fact, 90 percent of people in the US consume too much sodium.

What’s the big deal about showing too much love to salt? Consistent eating of too much sodium (especially through processed foods) has been linked to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

A low-sodium diet may also benefit people who experience:

The average American eats approximately 3,400 mg of sodium per day. Do you want to limit your sodium intake? Here are 15 of the saltyest foods and how to make a switcheroo for each one.

1. Canned soup

Sometimes the convenience of a hot bowl of soup comes out of a can. But these simple pre-made soups are extremely high in sodium.

Canned chicken or turkey noodle soup could have 834 mg of sodium per cup. And if you eat the whole can (which many of us do sometimes) the total is more than double that.

Swap it

  • If you have the time, make a homemade pot of soup with little sodium broth.
  • Look for a low-sodium version of your favorite canned soup. For example, a low sodium chicken noodle soup can only reset 429 mg of sodium per cup.

2. Cottage cheese

Salt in cheese stops bacteria growth, keeps moisture in check, and improves taste and texture.

One of the salty cheeses is cottage cheese. A 2 percent product contains 696 mg of sodium per cup.

For your information, opting for a low-fat cottage cheese is getting a product with a higher sodium content (1 percent milk fat cottage cheese contains 918 mg of sodium per cup).

Swap it

Low sodium cottage cheese is becoming increasingly popular. But be prepared that it probably won’t taste like its sodium-containing counterpart.

3. Salad dressing

The superstar of a salad is usually the dressing. Many salad dressings contain salt, MSG, or other sodium derivatives.

If you’re a ranch dressing lover, every tablespoon you eat contains 135 mg of sodium. Vinegar-based dressings are comparable in terms of sodium content. Italian dressings contain 146 mg per tablespoon.

Swap it

DIY your salad dressing! Vinegar and oil make a good base. Just add your favorite herbs and spices to enhance the flavor.

4. Beef jerks

This on-the-go snack is filled not only with protein, but also with sodium. The added salt will help preserve and flavor the meat.

If you’re consuming 1 ounce (about 28 grams) of beef jerky, you need about 505 mg of sodium. However, this can vary depending on the brand and taste.

Swap it

Try other nutrient-dense snacks that don’t require refrigeration, like unsalted mixed nuts, whole-food snack bars, or dried fruits.

5. Delicatessen meat

Whether you are doing a Sammie at home or visiting a local deli, if you eat cold cuts, you are likely eating a lot of sodium. This meat is processed with added sodium to preserve the meat and give it flavor.

Some meats may contain more sodium than others. For example, every 3 slices (27 grams) of hard salami contains 535 mg of sodium. But 28 grams of Deli Roast Beef contains 239 mg of sodium.

Swap it

More and more companies are releasing versions of deli with reduced sodium content. For example, a low sodium turkey would push the sodium back to 189 mg per 28 grams. If you have a go-to brand, check out their website to see if they publish the nutrition statistics for their products.

6. Pickles

When pickling foods (such as cucumbers, green beans or cabbage) are immersed in brine. This helps preserve the food and gives it a slightly sour taste.

One dill pickle spear contains 323 mg of sodium. In moderation, this could be manageable for you. However, if you have a cucumber with your salty french fries and salami sandwich, the sodium levels can add up quickly.

Swap it

Try the fresh ingredients before they are pickled! If you’re missing that pickled flavor, try pickling fresh cucumbers quickly by soaking them in white vinegar and water for about 2 days.

7. Boxed meals

Who hasn’t turned to Hamburger Helper or Mac and Cheese for a quick dinner? Boxed meals, while convenient and inexpensive, are also high in sodium.

A 1-cup serving of prepared mac and cheese contains 869 mg of sodium. (And who only eats 1 cup of mac and cheese?)

Swap it

  • The sauce or seasoning package typically provides most of the sodium in a box meal. With these packages separated in the box, add less than needed or make your own, low-sodium version.
  • Do you have a little more time Try to make one of these quick meals in 10 minutes or less.

8. Frozen meals

When you exit the aisle with the prepackaged meals and head towards the freezer, you may be disappointed. Frozen meals can also contain a medium sodium punch. Pizza is a common frozen meal that is particularly high in sodium.

A 15.1-ounce frozen cheese pizza (452 ​​grams) contains a whopping 2,020 mg of sodium. The addition of hot peppers increases this total to 3,140 mg per 532 grams of pizza.

Swap it

Look for frozen meals that are high in vegetables and whole grains with minimal sauce. Check out the nutrition facts to compare options while in business.

9. Baked beans

Baked beans are a popular summer side dish, often paired with hamburgers, hot dogs, and other grilled favorites. The bummer is that they are filled with sodium. One cup of canned baked beans (with added pork) contains 1,050 mg of sodium.

Also, unlike regular canned beans, you can’t rinse them to lower sodium levels.

Swap it

Stand out from other party guests and create your own baked beans. Just make sure to put the salt down and add herbs and spices to the flavor.

10. Pretzels

The salt is quite noticeable when you eat pretzels – whether you get the twists, sticks, or nuggets, they’re all topped with a hefty dose of coarse salt.

Pretzels can contain 280 mg of sodium per 30-gram serving, depending on the brand.

Swap it

Although unsalted pretzels exist, they don’t provide much nutritional value. Instead, try a snack of fresh vegetables and hummus (or any other dip – just check the labels and opt for lower sodium options).

11. Canned vegetables

Since canned vegetables don’t go bad as quickly as fresh ones (see you guys, wilted spinach we bought a week ago and never touched), they’re understandably a convenient option.

Like any other canned food, canned vegetables contain a large amount of sodium. One cup of drained mixed vegetables contains 349 mg of sodium.

Swap it

  • Just choose frozen vegetables if you are looking for a long lasting option.
  • After you’ve drained canned vegetables, rinse them out to remove some of the sodium that’s sitting on them.

12. Sauces and spices

If you want to keep things sassy, ​​these products are likely pretty salty too. Soy sauce is one of the saltyest of them all. Only 1 tablespoon contains 879 mg of sodium.

Another sauce that is often salty is BBQ. Depending on the brand, a dip tank can contain around 288 mg of sodium.

Swap it

  • Many sauces, including soy sauce, are available in low-sodium varieties.
  • You can also make some of your own sauces (and skip the added salt).

13. Hot dogs and sausages

What Goes With Salty Baked Beans? The hot dog. Oh, and his cousin, Bratwurst. These grilled wieners usually contain sodium nitrate, which helps in preservation, but also means they’re quite high in sodium.

Your classic Frankfurt beef can contain around 497 mg of sodium, and a bratwurst can contain 634 mg.

Swap it

You probably won’t find many low-salt processed meats. Instead, try plant-based dogs, which tend to be lower in sodium. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Double-check the label for the safest exchange.

14. Pork products

Sausage, bacon and ham: all pork products … and all salty as the sea. Many of these meats are cured, which essentially means adding salt to the meat to preserve it and improve the taste.

One sausage patty can contain around 285 mg of sodium, and just one slice of pork bacon contains 210 mg.

Swap it

Try to get most of your protein from other meats and vegetables that are low in sodium. Lean beef, chicken, lentils, and edamame are all high in protein. Just make sure you look for no-salt options to reduce sodium.

15. Bagels and other breads

This might be the most surprising item on the list. Bread doesn’t usually have a salty taste, but it’s one of the top 10 foods that people usually get a large chunk of sodium on every day.

What does salt do in bread? It helps control yeast fermentation, improves crust color, and adds flavor.

A normal slice of white bread can contain around 134 mg of sodium, depending on the brand. More of a bagel fan? A regular regular bagel will likely have around 443 mg of sodium.

Swap it

  • Although it may take some searching, some bread options are low in sodium. Check to see if any are available at your local store.
  • You could always go the homemade route and make your own delicious low-sodium bread.

Whole Grains Health

Protein Variety and Heart Health Are Linked, Study Finds



We’ve all found ourselves in the habit of eating the same three things over and over (…and over) again. When life gets busy, falling back on simple dishes that satisfy your tastebuds is the natural thing to do. But if you’re cooking up the same couple proteins on the regular, a new study published in the the journal Hypertension suggests that it may be time to introduce a few new varieties into your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

The study pulled existing data from over 12,000 participants who took part in a minimum of two rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Researchers sought to explore the relationship between hypertension—or high blood pressure—and the variety and quantity of proteins from eight major dietary sources consumed by participants. (Study participants were an average age of 41 years old.)

Researchers measured protein intake by looking at three consecutive days of eating, scoring each round based on the number of protein varieties consumed (including legumes, fish, eggs, whole grains, refined grains, processed and unprocessed red meat, and poultry).

The results? “Among ‘just the right amount’ consumers of protein, those eating the greatest variety of protein had a the lowest blood pressure,” explains John Higgins, MD, a sports cardiologist with McGovern Medical School at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. Notably, those who ate the least and the most amount of protein were at the greatest risk for developing high blood pressure, while those who ate the greatest variety of protein were 66 percent less likely to end up developing hypertension between the rounds of the survey .

“The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure.” — Xianhui Qin, MD, study author

Although the survey results sound complicated—and, hey, they were—the takeaway is simple: “The heart health message is that consuming a balanced diet with proteins from various different sources, rather than focusing on a single source of dietary protein, may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure,” Xianhui Qin, MD, the study author, said in a press release. In other words: Mix it up! Spin the protein wheel of fortune and try something new.

Related Stories

If you’re not quite sure where to start with upping your protein game, Dr. Higgins recommends looking at your consumption on a daily basis. “The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than about 5.5 ounces of protein daily, about one to two servings, from healthy sources such as plants, seafood, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and some lean meats and poultry,” he says. “The best proteins are lean proteins including beans, soy or tofu, fish, skinless chicken, very lean meat, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid proteins that say ‘hydrogenated’ on label or contain high levels of trans fats or saturated fats. “

Of course, there’s always room in your eating plan for less nutritional proteins, too—just try to incorporate these lean sources when you can, and ask your doctor if you have questions about what dietary habits are right for your particular health status and family history .

A delicious way to eat more varied proteins? This delicious quiche recipe:

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Whole Grains Health

The 10 Best Diet Books in 2022



Staff, Courtesy of Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

The word “diet” has earned itself an undeniably negative reputation, often leading people to think of unsustainable restriction and unhealthy fads. However, if you’re looking to adjust your way of eating, whether you want to feel better, lose weight, or hit a new personal record, there are tons of great diet books out there that can help educate you on ways to improve your nutrition and get you feeling better than ever.

While the diets of the past have focused on restriction, newer ways of eating encouragement consuming more good-for-you foods to crowd out less healthy choices, leaving you feeling satisfied, not deprived. These diet books are also super educational, teaching you why you should eat certain foods, what they can do for your health, and the best ways to make them delicious. To help you on your nutrition journey, we’ve gathered the best diet books and healthy cookbooks available today.

Best Diet Books

    How to Choose a Diet Book

    If you’re looking to switch up your diet, the first thing you should ask yourself is why. What exactly do you want out of a diet?

    Second, consider your lifestyle. Do you need meals that are quick and easy? Do you like to take an hour or two to cook for yourself every night? How often can you grocery shop for fresh ingredients?

    Finally, consider whether you’re looking specifically for a cookbook or one that will provide you education on a particular way of eating without necessarily giving you recipes. While many cookbooks will have some content that discusses the origins of food and their nutritional benefits, these books are unlikely to go as in-depth regarding nutrition as less recipe-focused ones.

    How We Selected

    To find the best diet books among the many options on the market, we researched the most popular books available and considered their content, credibility, design, digestibility, and organization. We then looked at both expert reviews and more than 105,000 customer ratings, written by people who’ve bought these books on Amazon, to settle on the diet books you’ll find below.

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    Best vegetarian

    How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    This is a great all-around cookbook, but it’s an especially great buy if you’re trying to lay off meat. This book contains everything from specific meal recipes to instructions for steaming veggies, truly teaching you how to cook from start to finish. There are recipes for every meal, as well as snacks and desserts, and it includes instructions for so many different dishes you could easily cook from only this book for an entire year and not get bored.


    Best for Longevity

    The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100

    This cookbook highlights recipes from specific areas across the globe—called blue zones—where people live the longest. While some of their longevity surely comes from other lifestyle factors, there’s no discounting the role diet plays in their long-lasting health and wellbeing. These recipes not only focus on ingredients, but the ways in which foods are prepared and how that relates to their overall nutritional value.

    The goal of the book is to increase longevity and quality of life while creating delicious recipes that you’ll want to eat time and time again.


    Best Mediterranean

    The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook

    The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It’s full of lean proteins, healthy fats, and tons of vegetables, providing a well-rounded, nutritious way of eating.

    This cookbook not only has 500 great Mediterranean recipes, but it also helps you learn which ingredients you should make staples in your grocery list. It also uses only ingredients that you can easily find at standard grocery stores, which makes the Mediterranean diet more accessible.


    Best for Runners

    run fast eat slow

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”—and to some degree, the same holds true for personal records. While nutritious food won’t necessarily knock 30 seconds off your mile time, it can help you fuel your workouts so you get the most out of your training.

    This book was designed by Olympian Shalane Flanagan and is packed with recipes designed to help runners fuel their toughest workouts and recover after. As a bonus, the recipes included in this book just so happen to be delicious, too.


    Best Vegan

    The Complete Plant-Based Cookbook

    When first going vegan, it can be difficult to figure out how to make food that is both delicious and nutritious. This book has 500 recipes ranging from meals to snacks to desserts that use entirely plant-based ingredients. These recipes also offer alternate ingredient options, like eggs and dairy, which is great if you want to add more plant-based recipes into your diet, but aren’t ready to dive headfirst into veganism.


    Best for a full reset

    The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    If you’ve been diet-hopping in hopes of finding a meal plan that can help you commit to a healthier lifestyle and enjoy some weight loss, Whole 30 is a great choice. It has you cut out sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and some other specific foods for 30 days. The idea behind the diet is that it helps jumpstart weight loss while simultaneously getting you to reassess how you think about what you are eating to reach a place of freedom with your food.


    Best for weight loss

    The Obesity Code – Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss

    If weight loss is your goal, and you have struggled to find lasting success, this book could be a game-changer. It dives into the science of weight loss, helping you understand hormones, insulin resistance, and other reasons for weight gain. The book recommends intermittent fasting and a low-carb diet, and guides you on how to do them correctly, efficiently, and in the long term.


    Best for Learning about Food

    How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

    A lot of eating plans focus on what you should eliminate from your diet, but this book places more importance on what you should be adding to your diet and why.

    It discusses foods that are scientifically proven to help you live a longer, healthier life, and the many ways in which food can help prevent disease. It focuses on whole body health—including both mental and physical health—and teaches you to focus on more than just weight and physical appearance when it comes to your food.


    Best for Anti-Dieters

    Not a Diet Book: Take Control. Gain Confidence. ChangeYourLife.

    The rise of anti-diet culture gave inspiration to this book, which helps you improve your relationship with food, tackle weight loss, and debunk fad diets to find a simple and easy way to lose weight and create habits that will keep the pounds from coming back. This book will help you build skills that enable you to live a happier, healthier life without focusing too closely on calories or numbers on a scale.


    Best for fasting

    Complete Guide to Fasting

    Fasting has gained popularity over the last decade and can be a great way to boost your metabolism, clear your mind, and promote weight loss. There are, however, rules you should follow while fasting so that you improve your health rather than endangering it. This book will guide you through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting to ensure you choose the style that will work best for you and do it correctly.

    Before joining Runner’s World as an Editor in 2019, Gabrielle Hondorp spent 6 years in running retail (she has tested top gear from shoes, to watches, to rain jackets which has expanded her expertise—and her closets); she specializes in health and wellness, and is an expert on running gear from head-to-toe.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

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Whole Grains Health

Eating different kinds of protein protects against hypertension: New study



Despite all this talk that more Australians are toying with vegetarianism, and despite the endless drum-beating about red meat giving you cancer and a dodgy heart, we continue to have one of the world’s highest levels of meat consumption.

Analysis published in December found Australians eat about 95 kilograms of meat per capita every year. The global average is 35 kilograms.

The article, ‘The Evolution of Urban Australian Meat-Eating Practices’, argues our meat-eating habits are driven by a blocky culture, an association with social status, a perception that plant-based diets are inadequate and lame, and ignorance about cooking legumes and tofu.

On the other hand, the authors point to a survey that found almost 20 per cent of those sampled “identified as meat-reducers”.

Furthermore, the authors say, 87 percent “of the meat reducer segment reported consuming a meat-free dish as their main meal at least once a week”.

They point to another survey that found almost 20 per cent described themselves as “flexitarian”, which is cool.

But it may not translate to more lentils, nuts, whole grains, fish and dairy hitting the dinner table as new favorite sources of protein.

A new study found why we need variety

Chinese researchers found that “eating protein from a greater variety of sources is associated with a lower risk of developing high blood pressure”.

Good to know because blood pressure is literally out of control in Australia.

One in three adults – more than six million Australians – has high blood pressure.

Of those afflicted, only 32 per cent have their hypertension under control. That leaves about four million Australians as ticking time bombs.

In December, in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Alta Schutte, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at UNSW Sydney, called for a national taskforce to tackle the issue.

By improving the control of hypertension, the risks of coronary heart disease, dementia and cerebrovascular disease will be substantially reduced.

The Chinese study suggests changing your diet will go some way to solving the problem.

the study

“Nutrition may be an easily accessible and effective measure to fight against hypertension. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three basic macronutrients,” said study author Dr Xianhui Qin, of the National Clinical Research Center for Kidney Disease at Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

The study authors analyzed health information for nearly 12,200 adults (average age 41), who had taken part in multiple rounds of the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1997 to 2015.

Over three days in the same week, participants shared what they had eaten.

They were given a protein “variety score” based on the different sources of protein they’d eaten: whole grains, refined grains, processed red meat, unprocessed red meat, poultry, fish, egg and legumes.

One point was given for each source of protein, with a maximum variety score of 8. The researchers then evaluated the association for new onset hypertension in relation to the protein variety score.

New-onset hypertension was defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg, the use of blood pressure-lowering medicine, or self-reporting that a physician had diagnosed high blood pressure.

The average follow-up time was six years.

The results

More than 35 per cent of the participants developed new-onset high hypertension during the follow-up.

Compared to participants with the lowest variety score for protein intake (1), those with the highest variety score (4 or higher) had a 66 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

The amount of protein eaten was also a factor. Consumption was divided into five categories, from least to most intake.

The researchers found that “people who ate the least amount of total protein and those who ate most protein had the highest risk for new onset of hypertension”.

The researchers didn’t ask why a variety of proteins was more healthy. But nutritionists, doctors and health writers have banged on about it for years.

Lean red meat is high in quality protein but provides no fiber or healthy fats. Processed meats are high in saturated fats and salt and are the worst.

Fish is high in long-chain fatty acids, which are good for the brain. Lentils and whole grains are high in fibre.

Hand on heart, a bit of each during the week might stop you from carking it in the street. Which is just undignified and unmanly.

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