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Stop Eating So Much Salt! These Are The Low Sodium Foods That You Should Eat!

Stop Eating So Much Salt! These Are The Low Sodium Foods That You Should Eat!

Despite the growing number of warnings by the health experts, our diet is still abundant with processed foods that contain excessive amounts of salt that is detrimental to our health. What too much sodium does to our health is that it increases the volume of blood in our blood stream, which results in high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones and headaches[1], not to mention the weight gain and bloating as a result of water retention. With high blood pressure being a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, it has become evident that lower sodium intake is one of the most important prevention measures.

High sodium foods we use in our diet include

  • Smoked, cured, salted or canned meat, fish or poultry including bacon, cold cuts, ham, frankfurters, sausage, sardines, caviar and anchovies
  • Frozen breaded meats and dinners, such as burritos and pizza
  • Canned entrees, such as ravioli, spam and chili
  • Salted nuts
  • Beans canned with salt added
  • Buttermilk
  • Regular and processed cheese, cheese spreads and sauces
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bread and rolls with salted tops
  • Quick breads, self-rising flour, biscuit, pancake and waffle mixes
  • Pizza, croutons and salted crackers
  • Prepackaged, processed mixes for potatoes, rice, pasta and stuffing
  • Regular canned vegetables and vegetable juices
  • Olives, pickles, sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables
  • Vegetables made with ham, bacon or salted pork
  • Packaged mixes, such as scalloped or au gratin potatoes, frozen hash browns and Tater Tots
  • Commercially prepared pasta and tomato sauces and salsa
  • Regular canned and dehydrated soup, broth and bouillon
  • Cup of noodles and seasoned ramen mixes
  • Soy sauce, seasoning salt, other sauces and marinades
  • Bottled salad dressings, regular salad dressing with bacon bits
  • Salted butter or margarine
  • Instant pudding and cake
  • Large portions of ketchup, mustard

According to American Heart Association [2] “With 65% of sodium in their diet coming from supermarkets and 25% from restaurants 9 out of 10 Americans consume too much sodium, exceeding the dosage recommended by AHA by 1900mg.”

Health benefits of a low sodium diet

Low sodium diet is strongly recommended as it not only improves the overall health and appearance, but it also affects three major risk factors – high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease.

A research [3] comprised of 14 cohort studies and five randomized controlled trials reporting all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke, or coronary heart disease, 37 randomized controlled trials measuring blood pressure, renal function, blood lipids, and catecholamine levels in adults and nine controlled trials and one cohort study in children reporting on blood pressure shows three major health benefits of low sodium diet

  • In adults a reduction in sodium intake significantly reduced resting systolic blood pressure by 3.39 mm Hg and and resting diastolic blood pressure by 1.54 mm Hg
  • In children, a reduction in sodium intake significantly reduced systolic blood pressure by 0.84 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 0.87 mm Hg
  • Lower sodium intake is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in adults

Suggested list of low sodium foods

Even though pervasive in our diets, high sodium foods are not that difficult to avoid or to replace by healthier alternatives. Here is a list of healthy, low sodium alternatives to the previous list, suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans [4] and AHA Sodium blog, [5] complete with recipes for you to try at home.

Meat, fish, eggs, beans and peas

  • Fresh meat (beef, veal, lamb, pork), poultry, fish or shellfish – low in sodium, rich in protein and iron
  • Eggs – low in sodium, rich in protein and omega -3 fatty acids
  • Dried or frozen beans and peas – low in sodium, rich in protein and iron

Suggested daily intake: 2-3 servings per day

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Recipe suggestions:

Scallop ceviche

    Low calorie and low sodium delicious lunch choice.

    White bean and roasted garlic dip

      Healthy home-made dip low in sodium and rich in fiber and protein.

      Dairy

      • Low-sodium cheese (swiss, goat, brick, ricotta, fresh mozzarella)
      • Cream cheese (light and skim)
      • Milk (1% or skim)

      Suggested daily intake: 2-3 servings per day

      Recipe suggestion:

      Phyllo Shells, Goat Cheese, and Jam

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        Creamy, crunchy, low calorie and low sodium snack

        Fruits and vegetables

        • Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits
        • Fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauces
        • Low-sodium tomato juice or V-8 juice
        • Low-sodium tomato sauce

        Suggested daily intake: 5 or more servings per day

        Recipe suggestions:

        Double Apple Crumble

           Rich, low sodium dessert.

          Banana Nut Oatmeal

            Zero-sodium, healthy breakfast choice.

            Beet, Orange, and Ricotta Salad

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              Tasty and healthy salad super rich in protein and fiber.

              Tomato Stacks

                Low calorie, low sodium, savory snack.

                 Breads, grains

                • Low-sodium breads
                • Low-sodium cereals (old-fashioned oats, quick cook oatmeal, grits, Cream of Wheat or Rice, shredded wheat)
                • Pasta (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni)
                • Rice
                • Low-sodium crackers
                • Low-sodium bread crumbs
                • Granola
                • Corn tortillas
                • Plain taco shells

                Suggested daily intake: 6 or more servings per day

                Recipe suggestions:

                Easy Granol

                  Healthy breakfast choice with only 22mg of sodium, and 3 grams of protein and fiber.

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                  Pappardelle With Lemon Gremolata and Asparagus

                    Great dinner choice rich in vitamin K, protein and fiber.

                    Sweets (consume in moderation)

                    • Sherbet, sorbet, Italian ice, popsicles
                    • Fig bars, gingersnaps
                    • Jelly beans and hard candy

                    Recipe suggestion

                    Triple Chocolate Surprise Brownies

                      Low calorie, rich and fudgy dessert.

                      Fats, oils, condiments (consume in moderation)

                      • Low-sodium butter and margarine
                      • Vegetable oils
                      • Low-sodium salad dressing
                      • Homemade gravy without salt
                      • Low-sodium soups
                      • Low-sodium broth or bouillon
                      • Lemon juice
                      • Vinegar
                      • Herbs and spices without salt
                      • Low-sodium mustard
                      • Low-sodium catsup
                      • Low-sodium sauce mixes

                      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                      Reference

                      [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19110538
                      [2] SOURCE:American Heart Association
                      [3] SOURCE:Effect of lower sodium intake on health: systematic review and meta-analyses
                      [4] SOURCE: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020
                      [5] SOURCE: AHA Sodium blog/

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                      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                      1. Nuts

                      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                      3. Tomatoes

                      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                      4. Broccoli

                      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                      6. Soy

                      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                      7. Dark Chocolate

                      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                      10. Gingko Biloba

                      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                      11. Green and Black Tea

                      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                      12. Sage and Rosemary

                      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                      More About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                      Reference

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