Happy Heart Month!

healthyHeart-photoDid you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women? Not only does it affect all ethnicities, but it can happen at any age. American’s have been drilled with the idea that a fast paced lifestyle is the way to live. Well, it’s not. There are many ways to fight cardiovascular disease. The average healthy American is recommended to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This is equivalent to 1 teaspoon. ONE TEASPOON! For those that are hypertensive, 1,500 mg of sodium per day is recommended.

So where does all of this extra salt come from? According to Heart Healthy Magazine, “Roughly 10 percent of the salt in our diet comes from the salt we add ourselves (the salt we season with while cooking or sprinkle at the table) and 10 percent is naturally occurring. The vast majority of salt—amounting to about 80 percent of daily intake—comes from processed foods. Salt is added to processed foods to achieve a (very salty) taste profile. In many situations adding salt is what makes cheap, un-tasty food palatable. Salt also is added for stability and preservation reasons. But the amount of salt added is clearly above and beyond what’s required for the safety and function of the food supply. The simple math leads to the conclusion that going easy with the salt shaker is hardly going to put a dent in the unhealthy amount of salt in the typical American diet. It’s also hard to trust our taste buds when salt is involved. Some foods taste quite salty because the salt is on the surface, while other sodium-saturated dishes don’t taste salty at all because other flavors and textures (namely, lots of fat and sugars) cover up the salt.”

You can add great flavor to any of your dishes without salt. Here are just a few suggestions and alternatives to your meals. Getting active is another great way to keep your heart strong. Grab some friends and head to the park. Not only is this a great way to get your heart pumping (safely and within your limits), but you can also catch up on the latest gossip, a great stress reliever! President Obama has proclaimed February as American Heart Month. February 5, 2010 was National Wear Red Day, I hope you all wore red to show your support. But wearing red to show your support is not limited to one day a year. Wear red and share your ideas and tips with everyone, everywhere.