7 Surprising Foods To Banish From Your Low-Salt Lifestyle

Limiting dietary salt can reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk for cardiac conditions like heart attack and stroke. However, it's not always as easy as putting the salt shaker on the top shelf and looking for low-sodium labels at the grocery store. These seven foods have an unexpected amount of salt, so reducing your intake of these sneaky items can also decrease your sodium intake.

White Bread

While bread might not taste salty, a single slice can have up to 230 mg of sodium. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, so a single sandwich could represent 20% of your total daily intake. For those of us who have hypertension and other chronic conditions, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum sodium intake of just 1,500 mg a day. If that describes you, one sandwich on white bread could be more than 30% of your ideal daily sodium limit, before you even consider the fillings.

Other types of bread are equal offenders. A bagel, for example, contains 500 mg of sodium, a third of your recommended daily amount.

Processed Meats

The University of Utah Health Department reports that processed meats represent the largest source of dietary sodium for most Americans. This category includes bacon, sausage and other breakfast meats as well as packaged lunch meats and deli meats. The CDC reports that 3 oz of packaged or deli turkey breast can have up to 1,050 mg of sodium, representing 70% of the daily limit for the adult at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Raisin Bran Cereal

While this breakfast cereal has a reputation as a classically healthy choice, it also has twice the sodium in a single serving as competitors like Special K, GoLean and Cheerios. If you prefer Raisin Bran and your doctor recommends a low-sodium diet, make sure to account for 350 mg of sodium in a single cup. Two cups of this cereal represents almost half your recommended daily intake of salt.

Pizza

Even if you don't add any salt, a single slice of pizza could exceed half your recommended daily sodium intake with up to 760 mg. That means if you eat two slices of pizza, you've already had too much salt for the day. As with most foods, frozen pizza tends to have less salt than the restaurant variety, but check the package so you know how much sodium is in each serving size.

Jarred Pasta Sauce

Although tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, jarred marinara and pasta sauces could contain an unwanted dose of sodium. Some varieties contain up to 510 mg of salt in a single half-cup serving. If sauces are a staple for you, check the sodium content on the label before making an Italian-inspired feast.

Canned Soup

While low-sodium varieties of canned soup are available, some brands can have up to 940 mg of salt in a single serving. What's more, a can of soup often contains two servings, although many of us eat the entire package in one sitting. Doing so can result in a significant sodium increase, so read the label carefully before having Campbell's or another popular soup brand for lunch.

Boneless Chicken Breasts

Like Raisin Bran, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seen as a quintessentially healthy food choice. However, it's important to keep an eye on the sodium content. Some brands inject a salty solution into the meat to make it moister and more flavorful, which can result in up to 330 mg of sodium in a 4 oz serving. Shop for organic varieties of chicken, which can be as low as 40 mg of sodium per serving.

The CDC reports that the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium each day. Lower these numbers by shopping smart and avoiding restaurant meals, which are usually very high in salt.

3 Easy, Healthy Meals Your Husband Will Love!

Preparing meals for your husband is one of the many ways you show how much you care. However, meal planning for two can be challenging, especially when you're trying to eat healthier. Fortunately, there are plenty of quick, easy, and healthy meals that you and your husband will absolutely adore.

1. Steak and Sweet Potato Fries

While it's definitely a palate pleaser for men, steak and fries doesn't exactly sound healthy. However, this recipe includes little tweaks that reduce fact content while also offering so much flavor. Ingredients include:

  • 2 lean steak fillets

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (choose your favorites)

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Season your steak fillets with the salt and pepper. Place them into a heated frying pan, cooking each side for about four minutes, depending on how done you prefer your steak.

For the sweet potatoes, cut them long and thin and fry in a pan containing boiling water for five minutes. After cooking, place your fries in a drainer and sprinkle them with olive oil. Take salt, pepper, paprika, and dried herbs mix to season your fries before spreading them out over a baking tray. For a crisp texture, cook your fries at 200C for approximately 40 minutes.

2. Slow Cooker Pork Fajitas

All slow cooker meals are amazingly easy without skimping on taste. To prepare, gather the following ingredients:

  • 500 grams of lean pork escalopes (either the eye of the loin or a smaller piece of a filet)

  • 500 milliliters of uncooked tomato puree

  • 1 onion

  • 2 teaspoons of paprika

  • 1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes

  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons of Natvia (a low-carb sweetener)

  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

  • 8 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

  • Wholewheat fajitas

First, whip up your sauce. Take your onion and finely chop it before frying it in a pan on low heat. Take the tomato puree, sweetener, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, and seasonings and add them to the pan. Simmer for a half hour.

Now, take your slow cooker and add your pork, pouring your simmering sauce mixture over it. Let the whole thing cook for at least eight hours on low before using forks to shred the pork. Replace in the slow cooker and cook for an additional three to four hours on high.

3. Chili Chorizo Nachos

You'd be hard-pressed to find a man on this earth that doesn't love nachos. Fortunately, this healthy nacho dish includes the following tasty ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of Mexican chorizo

  • 15-ounces (or 1 can) of unsalted pinto beans (make sure they're rinsed and drained)

  • 1/2 ripe avocado

  • 1 1/2 cups of tomatillos (be sure you remove the husks)

  • 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce (derived from canned chipotle peppers)

  • 2 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup of pico de gallo

  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice (fresh is best)

  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

  • 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro

  • 12 corn tortillas (slice into nacho-shaped wedges)

  • Cooking spray

After cutting up your tortillas, place them in an oven set to 375°F on a cooking-sprayed baking tray. Also, lightly spray the nachos with your cooking spray before seasoning with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Bake for up to 14 minutes, or when golden brown.

Cook chorizo on medium-high in a nonstick skillet for about five minutes, or until brown. Next, combine beans, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice in a food processor until the concoction is smooth. With your broiler preheated to high, pour the bean mix over your tortilla chips and top with the cooked chorizo and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted to perfection.

For the final step, take a 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, tomatillos, avocado, and leftover lime juice and add it to the food processor, blending until smooth once again. Once complete, add it and the pico de gallo to your cooked nachos. Don't forget to sprinkle cilantro over the whole concoction at the end.

My Three Favorite Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

slow cooker recipes

Restrict Calories

When you look at the average person's diet, you'll find most people eat too many saturated fats and too few vegetables. Additionally, many diets are also incredibly high in sodium aka salt. Consider this: a whopping 90% of Americans exceed their recommended daily allowance of salt. Sugar intake is also problematic when it comes to the average diet. While it's recommended that only 10% of your calories come from sugar, Americans consume 152 pounds of the stuff per year on average.

If you're like most people, you're totally aware of your diet failings. You just feel hopeless about being able to change them. The trick to eating better is to find crave-worthy meals that are actually good for you. And if these meals are easy to prepare, even better. Slaving over a hot stove all day preparing a meal is not most people's idea of fun, which is why slow cookers are so amazing!

Speaking of scouring, I've been on the hunt for the tastiest, the most delectable, the healthiest slower cooker recipes available. I absolutely love my slow cooker and I'm always on the lookout for different meals to make with it. These three stood out because of their comfort food qualities. However, their wholesome, nutritious ingredients mean you can enjoy a delicious dinner without the guilt. Enjoy!

1. Turkey Chili

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. of ground turkey
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans (be sure to rinse and drain)
  • 1 can of kidney beans (same as above)
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 1 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of  ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. of chili powder
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper (freshly ground is best)
  • shredded cheddar
  • thinly sliced green onions

For the best results, fry the ground turkey in a skillet on medium-high until brown before adding it and your other ingredients to the slow cooker. Set it on high and let your turkey chili simmer for four hours. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Garnish with shredded cheddar and green onions.

2. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients:

  • 3 24 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 16 oz. of fat-free chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce

Lettuce Wrap Ingredients:

  • 6 large leaves of your favorite type of lettuce
  • 2 large stalks of celery (cut them into matchsticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots

Add chicken breasts, celery, onions, garlic, and fat-free broth to your slow cooker, making sure there is enough broth to completely cover the chicken. Set on high for about four hours before shredding the chicken and draining all but a 1/2 cup of your broth. Add in shredded chicken, remaining broth, and hot sauce and cook on high for another thirty minutes. Scoop chicken into cups and top with shredded carrots and celery matchsticks.

3. Eggplant Parm

Lettuce Wrap Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants (slice them into half-inch sized coins)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cup of marinara
  • 12 oz. of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper (ground)
  • fresh basil

Lightly salt eggplant coins and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Combine garlic powder, panko bread crumbs, and Italian seasoning in one bowl while whisking your eggs in another.

Take about a third of your marinara and add it to the slower cooker.

Take your eggplant and dip it in the egg first, then the breadcrumbs.

Add to the slow cooker in an even layer, followed by another layer of marinara and your mozzarella. Add another layer of eggplant, then another layer of marinara and cheese, and cook on high for at least four hours.

Season with salt and pepper, with the Parmesan and basil added as the finishing touch.

Enjoy!

5 Ways To Stay Happy and Healthy While Staying at Home

The key to feeling happy and staying healthy at home is to keep your activity level high. Here are five ways to take great care of your physical, emotional and mental health even if you can’t leave the house.

1. Good Emotions: Connect With Friends and Family

You need your friends and family, and they need you. Even if you can’t talk long, just seeing a friendly face can do wonders for your heart. There’s simply no replacement for a laugh or smile from loved ones.

How can you keep in touch while following social distancing to stay safe? Share the love digitally. Download video-conferencing apps such as WhatsApp or Zoom. These tools are easy to learn.

Phone calls, emails and text messages can also spread welcome morning cheer to friends. With voice technology, composing a heartfelt message is easy.

2. Calm Heart: Limit Negative News

The coronavirus is bad. You understand that. But you don’t need to keep hearing about it multiple times every day. Many health experts recommend cutting down on the amount of coronavirus-related news you watch.

This can reduce your anxiety levels significantly. Ironically, the less stress you have, the stronger your immune system. Instead of staying up late watching the news, get a good night’s sleep and wake up completely refreshed.

3. Active Mind: Put Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

Fight boredom by exercising your mind. Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect recipe for days stuck at home: they keep you entertained, take a long time to finish and feel rewarding from beginning to end.

The beautiful and sometimes humorous images of many puzzles can give you a positive attitude. Try ordering custom jigsaw puzzles online using pictures of your grandkids!

Sudoku, crossword puzzles, adult coloring books and other brain games can be just as effective. The important thing is to give your mind a healthy workout.

What are the best foods for staying healthy during the coronavirus? Follow a colorful diet. Eat lots of red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, yogurt and fresh fish.

4. Healthy Body: Stick to Your Exercise Routine

Now’s a great time to pick a dedicated exercise spot and do some exercise every day. Alternate excellent stretching exercises like Pilates with moderate activities that make you sweat: dancing, strength training or riding an exercise bike.

Keeping up a healthy exercise routine offers many benefits:

  • Excellent cardiovascular health
  • Great emotional health
  • Comforting sense of structure
  • Gratifying feeling of accomplishment

Plus, you get to watch your tummy getting slimmer every day. Having a stunning waistline can definitely make you smile.

5. Satisfied Tummy: Make Delicious and Nutritious Meals From Scratch

It’s easier than ever to have groceries delivered to your door. Instead of ordering takeout, get your hands on colorful fruit, crunchy veggies and nutrient-packed proteins.

It may take longer to prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner from scratch, but honestly time is something you have in abundance right now. Making nutritious meals is good for your whole body:

  • Making meals gives you a satisfying activity boost
  • Eating fresh fruit and veggies provides higher levels of nutrients
  • Avoiding takeout lowers cholesterol and glucose
  • Getting vitamins is essential for a healthy immune system

Cooking is a great way to stay entertained and stay healthy at the same time. It gives you more flexibility for eating healthy and making things that get your mouth watering.

6 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Did you know that the idea that your metabolism slows down a ton as you age is just a myth? It’s true that you don’t burn calories as much as when you were 20, but the difference isn’t as huge as you may think. So why does it seem easier to put on pounds after 60?

For many people, that answer has to do with their habits. Some adults unconsciously start to limit their activity level instead of enjoying every day to the max. It’s a good thing that you’re determined to get the most excitement out of life!

Staying active is one of the best things you can do to burn calories. Here are six valuable tips for boosting your metabolism:

1. Eat a Colorful Diet

Superfoods help your metabolism by giving it valuable nutrients for energy production. Exotic fruits and colorful veggies are packed with antioxidants, minerals and other natural substances that enhance weight loss. For example, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts have lots of B vitamins and calcium. Citrus fruit such as grapefruit and lemons are rich in vitamin C, which burns fat more quickly. Also, a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables helps you drop pounds in a long-lasting, natural way.

2. Prioritize Healthy Proteins Over Carbs

Your body uses up more energy burning proteins than carbohydrates. Including plenty of healthy protein can kick your metabolism into high gear. Here are some of the best proteins for reaching your weight loss goals:

  • Low-fat cheese or yogurt
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey
  • Tofu

For this to work, it’s important to choose proteins that are low in fat. Also, keep your protein intake balanced with other nutritious foods. Supplements are an important way to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

3. Focus on Aerobic Exercise

It’s time to get sweating. Aerobic exercise does wonders for your metabolism and your heart. Any activity that accelerates your heart rate boosts calorie burning, including using an elliptical machine at the gym or swimming laps in a pool. Brisk walking, Pilates and rowing are some low-impact aerobics options perfect for people with tender joints. If you prefer the high-impact variety, go for a jog or enjoy an intense step aerobics session.

4. Get Your Full Eight Glasses of Water

For your beautiful metabolic machine to run smoothly, it needs water — all eight glasses! Staying hydrated delivers more oxygen to your muscles and increases metabolic activity significantly. According to a study mentioned in Redbook magazine, drinking water supercharged metabolism by up to 30%! Natural juices and drinks containing electrolytes can also be effective, but steer clear of sugary cheats.

5. Stay Energized All Day Long

When you feel energized, it’s easier to exercise and spend time outdoors. This creates a positive cycle where you lose weight and feel great, which actually helps keep your metabolism running hot.

Professional athletes stay in top shape by eating smaller portions of nutritious foods several times during the day. A healthy snack every 3 or 4 hours helps the metabolism burn calories nonstop.

Green tea is another secret for staying energized. Its caffeine content improves fat burning. Special antioxidants called catechins (especially EGCG) boost your metabolism’s output during exercise and while you rest. It’s not a magic pill, but green tea extract can help you drop pounds faster than normal.

6. Live an Adventurous Life

Take care of your metabolism and it will take care of you. Don’t let the temptation to sink into a cozy recliner and binge on Netflix win! Harness the power of your metabolism to do the things you really love in life.

Even your favorite hobbies can keep your blood pumping. Go for a stroll, tend to your garden or indulge your passion for outdoor photography. Staying in motion every day has great effects on your body, emotions and mind.

3 Harmful Approaches to Dieting

Diabesity weight loss healthy foods

There are a few reasons why recommendations of how to improve your diet for weight have failed. Again, none of these failures was your fault. You were simply given incorrect information about how to improve your diet to lose or maintain your weight. Here are a few of the most important ones.

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