Three Heart Health TipsPosted on : October 6, 2021
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
A healthy body could be said to start with a healthy heart. A healthy heart can start with your choices in the kitchen. Sodium is a mineral that plays many important roles such as maintaining the fluid volume outside your cells. However, when there is too much sodium in your diet this can play havoc on your heart health. Excess sodium increases your blood pressure which puts added pressure onto your heart which can increase your risk of a heart attack. High blood pressure can also increase your risk of stroke and chronic kidney disease.
The average sodium intake for Australians is 3600mg/day. To put this into perspective, the suggested dietary target is 2,000 mg/day so you are not alone if you have too much of this mineral in your diet. Here are some heart-healthy tips.
Here are three ways you can keep sodium at a healthy level:
Read food labels
Most sodium in your diet comes from pre-packaged products which is why it is important to read food labels. Seek foods and beverages with less than 120mg/100g for a gold star level of sodium or silver, which is at less than 400mg/100g.
Lemon, lime, herbs and spices
Sauces can be full of added sugar and salt. Try swapping with herbs and spices to not only remove the salt and sugar but add in antioxidants the different herbs and spices will give your body.
Another good choice can be using lime and lemon juice which add antioxidants, as well as vitamin C. Vitamin C, is needed to keep your immune system working at its best and is needed to make the protein collagen. Collagen keeps your tendons and ligaments strong and your skin looking youthful.
Are you hydrated?
Drinking enough during the day will help your entire body to work at its best. Also, keeps hunger at bay for a longer period as your brain can mistake thirst for hunger.
Try carrying around a water bottle to remind yourself to drink. Try squeezing a bit of lime, fresh orange juice or lemon into your water to add variety or including one of the many varieties of herbal teas available.
Potassium has the opposite effect to sodium and helps to lower your blood pressure. The adequate amount of potassium needed each day for women aged 19 years and over is 2800mg while for men it is 3800mg.
Potassium can be found in a variety of foods including seafood like Safcol Seafood, legumes, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. If you do not get enough of this mineral in your diet you are at risk of kidney stones, muscle weakness and high blood pressure.
Try adding potassium-rich foods or beverages to all your meals and snacks. This can include a delicious tin of Safcol Premium Salmon in Springwater 95g with wholegrain rice cakes and 50g of avocado.
Take home message
A healthy body is about finding a healthy balance and these heart healthy tips will point you in the right direction. Try these tips to keep the levels of potassium and sodium in your body at their optimal amounts.