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Keep Your Heart in Mind: Lola's Tips To Eat Less Salt and Sodium

Download Keep Your Heart in Mind: Lola's Tips To Eat Less Salt and Sodium pdf document (686k, 2 pages) handout.

Do you know your blood pressure numbers?

  • A normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg.
  • If your blood pressure is 120/80 to 139/89 mmHg, you have prehypertension. This means that you do not have high blood pressure yet, but you are likely to develop it if you do not change your health habits.
  • If your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher, you have high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure does not go away by itself. Ask your doctor for help in lowering it.
  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure number is. Keep track of each reading on your wallet card.

Write down your blood pressure reading here: (fill in)

Spice it up!

“Discover how much flavor you can add by using spices and herbs. Lola Idad has learned that it is not hard to get your family to eat less salt and sodium. Look for low-sodium or salt-free seasonings and sauces in the grocery store. My family got used to foods with less salt when I learned to use fewer high-sodium sauces and add less salt to my foods. Now, I make food taste good by using vinegar, bay leaf, green onion, garlic, ginger, saffron, tamarind, lemongrass, and even a dash of hot pepper. If I need some patis (fish sauce) or alamang (salted shrimp paste) for the sauce, then I use only a small amount of it.”

Take the lead and try these simple changes:

When Shopping

  1. Buy fresh, frozen, or no-salt-added canned vegetables. Choose food packed in water instead of broth or salt.
  2. Buy fresh garlic or garlic powder instead of garlic salt.
  3. Choose foods labeled “low sodium,” “sodium free,” or “no salt added.”

When Cooking

  1. Slowly cut back on the amount of salt added when cooking until you do not use any.
  2. Reduce the amount of high-sodium sauces, paste, and seasonings.
  3. Add no salt to the water when cooking beans, rice, noodles, and vegetables.
  4. Cut back on smoked, cured, and processed beef, seafood, poultry, and pork, such as ham, sausage, and corned beef.
  5. Rinse all canned products to reduce the amount of sodium.

When Eating

  1. Fill the saltshaker with a mixture of herbs and spices instead of salt.
  2. Slowly cut back on the amount of salt added at the table until you don’t use any.
  3. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of salty snacks such as chips, fries, and pork rinds.
  4. Cut back on sauces that have a lot of sodium, like bagoong (salted fish paste) and patis (fish sauce).

Ric has learned to control his high blood pressure. He takes his blood pressure pills with breakfast every morning to make sure that he does not forget to take them. He walks daily, has stopped smoking, and has found that food can still taste good with less salt and sodium.

Make your personal pledge to do what Ric has done! Look at these examples:

  • Breakfast - Cook oatmeal with fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk or soy milk, raisins, cinnamon, and no salt.
  • Lunch - Use leftover roast beef to make a sandwich instead of using lunch meats, or have beef with leftover rice and vegetables.
  • Dinner - Make your own fish cardillo with vegetables and half the usual amount of salt.
  • Snack - Eat a mango instead of salty chips.

Write the changes you will make this week: (fill in)

Your health and your family’s health are priceless. Value it!

Back to Session 4

Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Healthy Heart, Healthy Family: A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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