Watch out for the Salty Six

A lot of the packaged food we eat is processed and made more palatable by adding a lot of salt. About 77 percent of the salt we consume is already in the prepared foods we eat—it’s not coming from our saltshakers. It is not easy to combat this salt overload, but it can be done. The outer edges of the grocery store contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat and dairy—all of the fresh items that are vital to a balanced, low-sodium diet. The inner edges of the grocery store are home to the Salty Six, the six foods that can add the highest levels of sodium into our diets. Focus on eating less of these and you can reduce your sodium intake!  

1. Bread and rolls
Most bread will have 100 to 200 milligrams of sodium per slice. If you’re eating a sandwich, those numbers add up quickly. Read the label and find a whole-grain bread that has less than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. Also consider switching to whole-grain pita pockets, whole-grain English muffins or whole-grain bagel thins, all of which have fewer than 150 milligrams of sodium. And limit how much bread you eat throughout the day. Two slices should be the maximum.

2. Cold cuts and cured meats
Just six thin slices of deli meat can add up to half of a day’s worth of recommended sodium intake. Ham is a particularly high offender, and there’s no close alternative. If you do indulge in lunch meats, find a low-sodium variety, but be sure to read the labels; even those cold cuts marketed as low-sodium may run high. One viable alternative is to substitute hummus, egg whites, veggies or low sodium tuna, as alternate sandwich options.

3. Pizza
Pizza brings together a melting pot of high-sodium ingredients: cheese, pepperoni, sausage, tomato sauce and crust. Lessen the blow by choosing an olive oil sauce instead of tomato, ask them to go light on the cheese and opt for veggie toppings instead of meat. Limit yourself to two small slices, and have a salad or steamed vegetable to round out the meal.

4. Poultry
This one can be sneaky. What looks like a natural fresh or frozen piece of chicken could actually be injected with broth or sodium solution preservatives that boost sodium content up to 200 milligrams per serving. Read the label, and if has anything other than “chicken,” look for another brand. Even fresh poultry will have some inherent sodium. When purchasing chicken, avoid any prepared or processed products, which are packed with seasonings and sodium and are often fried. Consider fresh fish to bake or grill as another low-sodium alternative.

5. Soup
Many prepared soups are a hidden bunker of salt. You can easily blow an entire day’s worth of your allotted sodium intake just by eating a single serving which often measures in at 600 to 1,000 milligrams per serving (with two servings per can). It helps to choose a lower-sodium variety, but even those can score 400-plus milligrams per cup. Homemade soups (ones made without store-bought broth or bullion) are an option, but for those people who are used to high-sodium soups, the transition may seem flavorless and bland but with time your taste buds will adjust.

6. Sandwiches
Burgers and sandwiches are another hidden trove of salt, particularly if the meal is coming from a restaurant. It’s extremely challenging to follow a low-sodium diet if you dine out, particularly if you eat at fast food spots, where a single sandwich can contain a day’s worth of sodium. One way to lower sodium content is to request the burger or sandwich grilled and not fried, without cheese and with the condiments on the side (BBQ sauce and ketchup, in particular, add sodium and sugar). A better way to go is to share a sandwich and order a fresh side, such as a salad, fruit or low fat yogurt.

Myth or Fact: Heart Health Month

There are common myths about cardiovascular medications that can give false information to people who need them. In addition to lifestyle changes to control your high blood pressure your doctor may determine that you need prescription medication. When you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, your medication can help you regulate and lower your blood pressure.  By treating high blood pressure, you can help prevent a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and peripheral artery disease.

Check out these common myths about cardiovascular medications:

Myth: I feel fine, so I can stop taking my medication.

Fact: For your medication to work properly, you should always take it as prescribed. Feeling fine is a good thing, but also could indicate that the medication is working. Never stop taking medication without first talking to your healthcare provider and always remember to follow the recommendations of your healthcare team.

Myth: I eat healthy and exercise so I don’t need to or can eventually stop taking my medication.

Fact: High blood pressure or high cholesterol can be lifelong issues. Healthy eating and exercise can make a difference, but these changes may not always be enough to control high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you need medication, taking it as prescribed can reduce your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider about your personal health history and what’s right for you.

MYTH: I’m taking my medication, so I can eat whatever I want.

Fact: Taking medication does not eliminate the need for a healthy lifestyle. While medication can help control your high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it’s important to eat healthy and enjoy regular physical activity as well. Consider grilling or baking instead of frying, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and check nutrition labels to find foods with 140 mg or less of sodium. Above all, always remember to follow your healthcare provider’s advice.


Tips to reduce sodium

Most of us consume too much sodium in our diets. In fact, most of us consume nearly 50% more than the daily recommended limit. It is not hard to understand why when a large portion of the sodium consumed comes from processed and prepared foods, not just the salt shaker. Here is a breakdown of where the sodium in our diet comes from; 5% added during cooking, 6% added at the table, 77% processed or prepared foods. Excess sodium increases the risk for high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.  One in three Americans adults has high blood pressure. Taking steps to reduce sodium intake can help prevent premature deaths and heart conditions.

What Can You Do? Here are some tips on reducing sodium in your diet.
1.Prepare meals at home.

2.Limit foods with more than 200mg of sodium per serving.

3.Learn to read food labels for percent Daily Value or amount of sodium in milligrams.

4.Use herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of reaching for the saltshaker.

5.Select fresh or frozen food over canned foods. If using canned goods select the lowest level of sodium and rinse before using to remove additional sodium.

6.Prepare your own meals to control the sodium content. 

7.When available, buy low-sodium, lower sodium, reduced-sodium, or no salt-added.

Heart Healthy Women

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute! This month we want to focus on heart disease and the ways we can prevent this deadly disease. We often think of heart disease as something only men experience, but it is a problem for women as well. Women often have risk factors for heart disease, but they don’t know it. Join us on Feb 3rd to celebrate Go Red for Women Day and wear something red to show your support for women with heart disease and stroke.
Many things can put you at risk for these problems – one’s you can control, and others that you can’t. But the key takeaway is that with the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended. Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day.

Here are seven lifestyle change suggestions from the American Heart Association that you should make:

Get active. Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Check out our Walk Around Nevada program to increase and track your daily activity.

Control cholesterol. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones, but when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke.

Eat Foods that can help lower cholesterol
•A variety of whole- and multi-grain products, such as bran and oats
•Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
•Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables
•Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado, flax seeds, olive oil and canola oil
•Foods rich in plant sterols, such as nuts like walnuts and almonds

Eat better. Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases. If you are frequently skipping out on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life. Check out our Half My Plate mobile app to help you eat more fruits and veggies.

Manage blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Our body then kicks into injury-healing mode to repair these tears with scar tissue. But unfortunately, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can form into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries. Come visit one of our Heart Healthy events this month and get your blood pressure checked for free.

Lose weight. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction. Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to help you determine if you need to lose weight.

Reduce blood sugar. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes. Although diabetes is treatable and you can live a healthy life with this condition, even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, most people with diabetes die from some form of heart or blood vessel disease.
The following tips can all help reduce your blood sugar:
•Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
•Get regular physical activity! Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
•Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you

Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Like a line of tumbling dominoes, one risk creates another. Blood clots and hardened arteries increase your risks for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health. Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it! Call our Nevada Tobacco Quit line 1-800-QUIT NOT (800) 784-8669  to get help quitting.

Come to our Heart Healthy Events this month

The Get Healthy Team is putting on two Heart Health Month events this February.  Please come join us for these events! 

Feb 3rd 11am-1pm @ the Southern Nevada Health District (280 S. Decatur Blvd. LV, NV 89107)
This free event includes:
-Free Blood Pressure Checks
-Educational session about blood pressure management
-Class on chair yoga and breathing

Feb 10th 11am-1pm @ the Southern Nevada Health District (280 S. Decatur Blvd. LV, NV 89107)
This free event includes:
-Free Blood Pressure Checks
-Educational session about blood pressure management
-Cooking for the heart food demonstration

New Year’s resolution 2017:

At the start of the New Year we think a lot more about eating healthy, but what does that really mean and how can we do it? One of the simplest ways to eat healthy is to focus on eating more fruits and veggies. An easy way to measure this goal is to have at least half your plate to be fruits or veggies. This simple improvement can be one of the best things you can do to improve your diet. The good news is that all produce counts, which means canned, dried, fresh and frozen varieties can help you reach your goal. Download our new app, Half My Plate, to help you keep track of eating half your plate fruits and veggies.

Here are some tips to help you increase your fruits and veggies:

Add Fruits and Veggies for BREAKFAST:
•Buy fruit that can be mobile, such as  apples, bananas, oranges. Have these in an easy to grab and go place in your home. Make a plan to eat one piece of fruit on the way to work.
•Prep fruit like  melon, grapefruit or other fruit the night before.
•Add bananas, raisins or berries to your cereal or oatmeal.
•Drink a small (6-ounce) glass of juice. Be sure it’s 100% fruit or vegetable juice
•Add chopped up vegetables to your eggs or potatoes. Try onions, celery, green or red bell peppers, or spinach.
•Eat carrots or celery. Who said this can’t be eaten for breakfast? 

Add fruits and Veggies to LUNCH
•Skip the fries and pick the fruit or vegetable salad option with your lunch.
•Put vegetables on your sandwich, such as cucumber, sprouts, tomato, lettuce or avocado.
•Eat a bowl of low-sodium vegetable soup.
•Have a piece of fruit or raw veggie sticks instead of chips.

Add fruits and Veggies to SNACKS
•Keep raw veggie sticks handy, such as green or red bell peppers, green beans, celery or carrots to enjoy with your favorite dip. Even better if your dip is made with fruit and veggies, such as hummus or guacamole.
•Carry dried fruit, such as raisins, dates or dried apricots, in your purse or pocket.
•Have any type of fresh fruit: grapes, apple, banana, orange, kiwi, etc.
•On hot days, munch on a bowl of frozen fruits or vegetables, such as grapes, peas or bananas.

Add fruits and Veggies to DINNER
•Have a fruit or vegetable salad with dinner.
•Add a side of steamed or microwaved vegetables – frozen veggies are fine!
•Add chopped vegetables like onions, garlic and celery when cooking soup, stew, beans, rice, spaghetti sauce and other sauces.
•Look for ways to add veggies. Add peas to rice or corn to salsa.
If you’re already eating plenty of fruits and veggies every day, you may be ready for the next step: include more color. The best way to get all the various nutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors. Eat from as many color groups as you can each day.

New Year’s Resolution 2017: Be more active

The New Year is always a great time to recommit to being more active and getting in some daily exercise. The recommended amount of physical activity for adults is 150 minutes a week. That may sound like a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can break it up into 30 or 10 minute increments throughout the day or week. Everyday activities like gardening, housecleaning, shoveling snow and walking up the stairs can get the heart beating and strengthen muscles. The important thing to remember is to start slowly, choose activities that you enjoy and recognize your success along the way. No matter what you choose to do, doing something is better than doing nothing. Even small amount of physical activity can have positive results. If you are looking for some small ways to incorporate physical activity we have some suggestions.

Download the Walk Around Nevada app. This free app helps you track your physical activity. Complete one virtual lap around Nevada and receive a hall of fame t-shirt.

Get off to the right start by hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more in a national park. Find a national park near you

Download the Neon to Nature app. Find parks and walking trails in your neighborhood.


New Year’s Resolution 2017: More Meals at Home

Whether you are cooking for just yourself, one to two people, or a larger group, planning meals is a good place to start improving your food choices. Taking the time to plan a healthy evening meal can help you avoid a less healthful “drive-through” dinner.
You might want to use SuperTracker: My Plan or check out our SNAP app for more meal ideas. The plan will show you your daily food group targets — what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. It can help you plan your upcoming meals to meet your weight goals and suggest ways to improve choices. Once you’ve planned your meals, make a grocery list. Take some time on your visit to the grocery store to choose lower-calorie ingredients. Here are some ideas that may help:

•Many casseroles and meat sauces use cream soups as a base. Use a low-fat cream soup.
•Substitute a low-fat cheese in casseroles and vegetable sauces. When using sharply flavored cheese, such as cheddar and parmesan, you can usually reduce the amount in a recipe to save calories without sacrificing flavor.
•Try a non-stick cooking spray or a small amount of cooking oil for sautéing instead of frying with solid fat.
•If you’re using ground beef for tacos or meat sauce for spaghetti, look for a lower-fat variety such as ground round or ground sirloin or try using skinless ground turkey breast. Once you’ve browned the meat, drain to remove excess fat.
•Instead of full-fat versions of mayonnaises, butter, and salad dressings, try those that are lower in calories, total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat.
•Check out the frozen food aisles for quick, low-calorie vegetable side dishes. You can find cut green beans, sliced carrots, and other chopped vegetables in the frozen food section. Avoid the ones with added cream, butter, or cheese sauces as these ingredients can add calories. You can steam these vegetables quickly in the microwave.
•In some soups and entrees, you may also be able to add dry beans to extend the recipe and improve the nutritional value. This is easy to do in vegetable-based soups and chili. You can just add a cup of canned white beans, kidney beans, or pinto beans to the recipe. As another example, if you are making enchiladas, rinse a can of black beans and add these to the ground meat.
Research shows that people get full by the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories they take in. You can cut calories in your favorite foods by lowering the amount of fat and or increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients, such as vegetables or fruit. Eating fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food.
To learn more, visit Eat More, Weigh Less? And see How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight for more information.

Happy Healthy New Year!

Did the holidays sabotage your healthy eating habits? Don’t beat yourself up, the new year is a perfect time to get back on track. We want to make healthy eating easier for you  in the new year, so we have put together a list of simple tips to help get you started.  Take small steps every day, and you can achieve a healthy diet in 2017! 

Foods to INCLUDE:
•Fruits and vegetables
•Whole grains
•Beans and legumes
•Nuts and seeds
•Fish and skinless poultry
•Fat-free and low-fat dairy products

Foods to LIMIT:
•Sodium and salt
•Saturated fat
•Sweets and added sugars, including sugar-sweetened beverages
•Red meats – if you choose to eat red meat, select lean cuts

Foods to AVOID:
•Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils

Overall TIPS:
•Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat.
•Watch your calorie intake. To maintain weight, consume only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories or burn more calories.
•Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served.
•Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
•Prepare and eat healthier meals at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients.
Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Healthy Holiday Season to You!

The holidays are a very busy time for many families.  There is shopping to do, parties to attend, children’s activities, oh and guests at your house!  During this busy time, we can often forget about the healthy habits that we have adopted through the rest of the year.  This holiday season, don’t let those healthy habits slip, pick one or two of these healthy habits to do with your family.

-Plan a healthy dish. Use fruits or veggies.
-Take a walk with the family.
-Play in the snow, if you are heading somewhere cold.
-Have a dance party.
-Eat less.
-Get more sleep.
-Skip the soda.
-Eat your meals at home.

Wishing you a healthy holiday season! Enjoy time with your friends and family this week. We look forward to keeping you healthy in the New Year.