If you want your diet to be heart healthy, reducing the amount of fat content isn't enough. Health experts say you also need to pay attention to the sodium content.
Dietitians say you'd be surprised how much food is high in sodium.
People don't realize that it's in everything we eat, said Tammy Fumusa, dietitian at St. Mary's Hospital. If you got up and had tomato soup for breakfast, Campbell's soup for lunch, and potato chips for supper, that's a bad day.
The American Heart Association recommends a person have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. That's equal to a teaspoon of salt. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, experts say choose fresh, lean meats and fish, instead of processed versions. And stick to fresh fruits and vegetables -- canned produce can have added salt. And don't be fooled by frozen dinners that are packaged as heart healthy.
You'd be surprised how much sodium is in something that might be considered healthy, said Elizabeth Penniman, dietitian at Cleveland Clinic. For example, frozen entrees that are labeled heart healthy because they're low in fat, they're often high in sodium. You want to look for a frozen entrée that would be less than 800 milligrams per serving.
Try to ignore your salt shaker. Instead opt for fresh herbs and spices -- or no-salt seasonings -- to spice up your meal and use more olive oil.
Too much sodium in your diet can lead to heart and vascular problems.
Some information & video courtesy Cleveland Clinic: www.clevelandclinic.org