February is all about HEART health

When we think of heart health many things come to mind, but most people would agree that blood pressure and cholesterol are among the most important. It is important to keep your blood pressure (or the pressure level of our blood when entering in and out of arteries) and cholesterol (a type of fat in the blood that also travels through our arteries) in the recommended ranges. Two nutrients responsible for changes in our blood pressure and cholesterol are Sodium (salt) and Saturated Fat.

Our recipe section allows you to find tasty, heart friendly recipes that are low in both Sodium and Saturated fat!

Sodium
Sodium, also known as “salt”, is something that affects blood pressure by keeping it in balance. This means that some sodium is good, but too much can increase our blood pressure. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adults have between 1,500 mg (milligrams) and 2,300 mg per day. An easier way to memorize this is to use teaspoons; half a teaspoon of salt is the same as 2,300 mg. Because many of the packaged foods are already high in salt, adding table salt to packaged food is not recommended. The amount of salt in a product can be seen by looking at the sodium section of the nutrition label. (Be sure to check the serving size of the food first, so you know how much sodium you’re actually eating!) Look for food labels that say “unsalted”, “sodium-free”, and “low sodium”. These food usually have the lowest amount of added salt!

Cholesterol
Cholesterol can be affected by the amount of lipids, or “fat”, in our food. Saturated fat, a type of fat that mostly comes from animal products, can raise both types of cholesterol, the good (HDL cholesterol) and the bad (LDL cholesterol). Like sodium, saturated fat is not completely bad for us! Our bodies actually need fat for a healthy heart. However, we want to keep our bad cholesterol, LDL, low. Saturated fat is the type of fat to watch because it can raise cholesterol in some people. The good news for meat lovers is that there are some animal products that are lower in saturated fat! (Lean cuts of beef, chicken, and turkey all fit the bill.) Saturated fat and total fat amounts can be seen on nutrition labels, just like sodium. The American Heart Association recommends adults have between 44 and 77 grams of fat per day, with no more than 16 grams of fat being saturated fats.

Check out all of our heart healthy DELICIOUS recipes. Click here.