6 low-sodium foods that support heart health

Cardiovascular (CVD) or heart diseases are the deadliest in the world. High salt intake is directly related to these pathologies, including high blood pressure. For this reason, choosing low-sodium foods is a priority.

In the world, the population ingests 2 times more salt than recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). You should consume 5 grams of salt a day or 2 grams of sodium to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.

Mattes and other researchers indicate that 77% of sodium comes from processed foods and 12% from natural foods. Hence, we must be attentive to the consumption of salt from the industrialized. However, the safest way to eat with less sodium is to include certain natural foods.

What is a low sodium diet?

According to him UNC Health Care from United States, a low sodium diet is one that restricts the amount of common salt to 1 teaspoon daily. This equates to no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. This can help lower your risk of high blood pressure and thus lead to a healthier heart.

The Spanish Heart Foundation recommends a slightly stricter diet for the control of arterial hypertension. Adjust your sodium intake to 1,353 milligrams / day, or just over 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let's now review which are the 6 main natural foods that have a low sodium intake.

1. Vegetables

Fresh vegetables, such as vegetables, roots, flowers, and stems are low in sodium. For example, leafy vegetables can range from 70 milligrams to 150 milligrams for every 100 grams of vegetables.

Sweet corn, broccoli, pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato, and carrot range from 15 milligrams to 30 milligrams of sodium. Cauliflower, onion, tomato and cucumber contain less than 10 milligrams, according to what is indicated in the INCAP food table.

According to the Chilean Journal of Cardiology, it is advisable to eat 4 to 5 servings a day of raw vegetables. This suggestion corresponds to the DASH diet (dietary aproach to stop hypertension) developed in the United States for the control of high blood pressure.

Vegetables are a natural and fresh option to protect cardiovascular health, according to the recommendations of the experts.

2. Fruits are low sodium foods

Fruits, in general, are very low in sodium with values ​​below 10 milligrams. In addition, they provide pigments that give it a great variety of color with antioxidant capacity. They also contain a lot of potassium, magnesium, and fiber. The DASH diet recommends 4-5 servings a day. A serving is 1 medium fruit or 1/2 cup of chopped fruit.

The Spanish Heart Foundation recommends about 3 pieces of fruit daily. These include 1 piece of apple, 2 lemons, 1 piece of watermelon, 4 of oranges for juice and 1 of plum. In the second week you can include 1 pomegranate, 5 grams of raisins and 75 grams of avocado.

3. Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the root foods low in sodium. You have to be careful with the preparation, anyway. For example, in cooked and baked with skin and without added salt the value ranges between 10 milligrams and 14 milligrams per 100 grams. Those cooked without skin reduce their content to 5 milligrams. While mashed potatoes with milk or margarine increases it to more than 300 milligrams per 100 grams.

The diet of the Spanish Heart Foundation suggests preparing the potato in the form of a tortilla or with shredded chicken and using an amount of almost 1 kilograms of potato per week.

4. Whole grains and grains

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has classified brown rice, oats, and quinoa as foods that provide less than 5% of the recommended daily value for sodium. Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentils also make a low contribution of this mineral.

Almeida has pointed out that soluble fiber is capable of reducing bad cholesterol or LDL that clogs the arteries. Oats, quinoa, barley, and corn contain it. In this sense, Pereira has also highlighted the increase in fiber consumption to 10 grams a day to reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Walnuts

Walnuts and other dried fruits (hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamias) have less than 10 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams. When preparing toasts the values ​​are concentrated by up to 37%. Further, nuts are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acid, recognized by the Spanish Heart Foundation as a protector of the heart.

The DASH diet recommends 4 to 5 servings (serving is 1/3 cup) per week of nuts and 2 tablespoons of oil seeds such as flax or sesame.

Keep reading: Benefits of nuts in pregnancy

6. Lean protein

Low-fat proteins are the best option when choosing a type of meat or vegetable protein. Beef provides more than 50 milligrams of sodium and fresh fish, including blue ones, contain between 40 and 60 milligrams. With 2 servings of 85 grams each a day, a good protein intake is ensured.

Blue fish, such as fresh tuna, salmon, and mackerel are ideal for taking care of the heart. In addition to a low sodium value, they also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids from the omega 3 series. Another source of protein is milk. All dairy products should be used skim and without salt, in 2 or 3 servings a day.

Discover: What are proteins and what are they for?

How much sodium do certain amounts of salt provide?

Common salt is the union of 40% sodium with 60% chloride. The Chilean Journal of Cardiology shows the equivalent amount of sodium from different grams of salt. With these equivalences it is easy to calculate the quantity:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt provides 500 milligrams of sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt provides 900 milligrams of sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt provides 1500 milligrams of sodium
  • 1 teaspoon of salt provides 2,000 milligrams of sodium

Table salt is a common additive in many people's meals, which increases cardiovascular risk.

What foods should I restrict to avoid sodium consumption?

There are many foods that we must restrict to reduce sodium intake per day. Here we mention those that contain it the most and, therefore, about which you should be alert. They are as follows:

  • Some fruits and vegetables: coconut, canned and canned fruits, frozen fruits with added sugar, pickled vegetables, pickles, stuffed vegetables, and vegetables with creamy sauces.
  • Cereals: Processed cereal derivatives such as white bread, muffins, donuts, cookies, buttered popcorn, cakes and refined white flour should be excluded.
  • High sodium protein foods: organ meats, fatty meats, whole milk and dairy products, sausages, ham and other cold cuts.
  • Fatty products: butter, heavy cream, salted margarine, hydrogenated fats, thick sauce, lard.
  • Miscellaneous: this group includes canned and dehydrated soups, monosodium glutamate, mayonnaise, soy sauce, dressings, and canned foods.

Low sodium foods to take care of the heart

If you are looking for a diet to control hypertension and To keep your heart healthy, the first thing to do is reduce your salt intake. How much should you eat per day? The answer is your doctor and a nutrition professional, so do not forget to consult them.

However, you already know that with the varieties of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, potatoes and lean meats in different servings you can maintain a healthy heart rate. Do not forget to also check the labels of the products that you usually buy in the market.