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Archive for November, 2012

Cut the Sodium for the Health of it…

Posted on: November 30th, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan 3 Comments

Have you checked your blood pressure recently?  Have you been told you have elevated blood pressure?  It seems as more people are diagnosed with the condition, it is not taken as seriously as it should be considering it is one of the “Silent Killers”.

It may not display symptoms but can be deadly.  Leaving high blood pressure untreated can increase your risk of stroke and it puts pressure on your heart, blood vessels, brain and kidneys.

High blood pressure can be very preventable with weight loss, stress management and a healthy diet including reducing sodium to no more then 1500 mg per day.

Here are some tips to assist in reducing the sodium from your diet:

  •  Avoid processed and fast foods


  • Read and understand food labels – there is sodium in almost everything so if you are buying anything with a food label, Canada’s Food Guide recommends looking for foods with no more than 5% or less DV (daily value) however, be aware the percentage used is based on an unhealthy sodium target of 2400 mg so 5% looks good until you realize it is 5% of 2400 not the recommended 1500 mg.  Be sure to pay close attention to the number of milligrams when it comes to sodium rather than the DV


  • Reduce or eliminate adding table salt to anything unless you are a clean eater with virtually no processed foods in your diet.  Sea salt is still sodium and should also be kept to a minimum


  • Increase your consumption of vegetables and fruit


  • When preparing meat add herbs or zero sodium spices and be aware of “seasoned” cuts of meat like some pork loin roasts.  Many are seasoned and you may not even realize it


  • Prepare rice, oatmeal or grains in their most original state and avoid “quick cook” items


  • If buying canned products, buy sodium free or low sodium and rinse beans or vegetables where possible.  Again, read the nutrition label as low sodium may still contain a lot more then you realize


Have you reduced your blood pressure naturally through weight loss or improved diet?  I would love to hear from you.


It is not your fault, we all love SALT but…

Posted on: November 21st, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan 1 Comment

Are you one of those people with normal blood pressure who thinks they do not have to be concerned about sodium intake?  I was that person and the salt shaker was definitely my friend. I have long since reduced salt intake significantly after learning that excess sodium interferes with the natural ability of blood vessels to relax and expand which increases blood pressure and puts you at greater risk of a Stroke or Heart Attack.  Sodium also contributes to the risk of many diseases such as Diabetes, some Cancers, Kidney Disease and Osteoarthritis to name a few.

While sodium is essential to our bodies,  we only need about 1500 mg (3/4 of tsp) of salt per day and a very healthy person could take in as much as 2200 mg but Canadians are consuming on average 3400 mg per day (about 1 1/2 tsp).

Where does all this salt come from?

The main sources are;

Processed food like canned soup and vegetables, cheese, crackers, bread, processed meat, frozen dinners and prepackaged pasta and rice are a few examples.


Fast Food but even dining out in high end restaurants can be equally sodium filled.

How much sodium is in the fast food Canadians are eating?

I compiled a few fast food items with their sodium content that might be considered “healthy” options because I know everyone reading this is already trying to make healthy food choices ;-).  Keep in mind 1500 mg is what we need in a day.

Pizza Pizza Garden Veggie, Classic Dough pizza slice  1110 mg

Tim Hortons Turkey and Wild Rice Soup  960 mg

Harveys Health Check TM Grilled Veggie Burger Combo 930 mg

Subway 6″ Turkey Breast Sub with 9-grain wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers (note: no cheese) 810 mg

KFC Grilled Chicken Breast no fries, bun or condiments 730 mg 

McDonalds Spicy Thai Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken no dressing  520 mg

I deliberately did not include the many fast food items that contained over 2000 mg of sodium however this item really caught my eye and I had to share; a large size side order of French Fries at KFC has 1530 calories and 3480 mg of sodium…WOW!!

The list above makes it is easy to see how we can reach 3400 mg in a day.

What is your salty pleasure?

Would you like to reduce your sodium intake?  Watch for part 2 next week! 

Live longer, live healthier…have a heart and look after your heart!