3 things you should always check in the food you buy according to a cardiologist | The State
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Many of the packaged foods may not be entirely healthy for your heart and your body in general. You don’t need to spend hours analyzing the content of each product, the faster way to verify If it is something that you should carry in your cart, it is to observe three things.
Choose foods that are low in sodium. More than 70 percent sodium that Americans consume comes from packaged foods, prepared and from restaurants, not the salt shaker, according to data from the American Heart Association (AHA).
The total sodium shown in the label Nutrition Facts list includes the sodium from salt, plus the sodium from any other sodium-containing ingredients in the product.
Dietary guidelines in the United States recommend less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (less than 5 g of salt) per day. While the AHA suggests 1,500 mg daily for those who are sodium sensitive or at high risk for hypertension.
Why avoid high sodium intake? It makes you retain fluid, contributes to high blood pressure, and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
More fiber and less carbohydrates
Look for a higher fiber content and in proportion to fiber. As reference, 10 grams of carbohydrates per 1 gram of fiber, recommends cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian, Professor of Medicine, Tufts School of Medicine, in a summit that takes up Well + Good.
Foods with a 10: 1 ratio of carbohydrates to fiber tend to have less sodium, sugar, and trans fat than grain products with a higher proportion of carbohydrates.
Look for those products that have a higher content of good fats (unsaturated, either polyunsaturated or mononunsaturated) and a lower content of bad fats (saturated).
Saturated fats are related to stress on the heart. Instead, “good” fats are considered beneficial fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, relieve inflammation and stabilize the heart rate, explains the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
Don’t obsess over calories, advises Dr. Mozaffarian, who claims total calories can be misleading. He suggests going for minimally processed fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, vegetable oils, whole grains, beans, and yogurt.
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