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Happy Heart's Low-Salt Recipes

"But I don't keep a salt shaker in my kitchen!"

According to Heartmail's Nutrition Expert Liz Moore, many people don't realize the amount of sodium they are eating.

"The truth is that sodium has many hidden sources beyond the salt shaker. It's found in vast quantities in many foods - not only in processed or restaurant foods, but in condiments and seasonings like ketchup, mustard and herb-spice mixtures."

Limiting sodium intake is a good idea for everyone, but it is especially important if you have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, means that the blood flowing through your arteries is moving faster and harder than it should, which can weaken blood vessels. Normally, water that circulates through the body helps to maintain normal blood pressure. But if an excessive amount of sodium is ingested, the body can retain more water than necessary. This can cause blood pressure to continue to rise inside blood vessel walls, even hours after a salty meal is eaten.

Because sodium is found in so many foods, many of us consume more than is healthy. It's recommended that a person with cardiovascular health issues eat no more than 1,500 milligrams a day. According to Liz, there are easy ways to lower the amount of sodium in the foods we eat by cooking with fresh herbs instead of seasonings, or using garlic powder instead of garlic salt. For this issue, Liz and Happy Heart came up with three recipes that are so tasty you won't even notice they are low in salt.

Roasted Pepper Hummus

Serves 6

15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed well
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from the jar, packed in water or roasted fresh)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
Serve with fresh vegetables as a dip or use as a spread.

Total calories per serving: 130
Total fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 0.5 g
Sodium: 10 mg
Total carbohydrates: 18 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g

Tangy Coleslaw

Serves 4

3 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Pepper to taste

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice and pepper together. Add to a bowl containing the rest of the ingredients and toss. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Total calories per serving: 80
Total fat: 3.5 g
Saturated fat: 0.4 g
Sodium: 25 mg
Total carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 1 g

Whole Grain Pasta Primavera

Serves 8

12 oz. package of whole wheat pasta -- penne or bow-tie
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups of eggplant, cubed
2 red onions, diced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, unsalted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat vegetable broth, garlic, onions and tomatoes over medium heat. Saute about 5 minutes. Add all of the other vegetables along with the oregano and cook until vegetables are soft but crisp, about an additional 5-10 minutes.

Prepare pasta according to package. Drain and toss with olive oil. Combine pasta with vegetables and top with fresh basil and pepper.

Total calories per serving: 210
Total fat: 2.8 g
Saturated fat: 0.2 g
Sodium: 34 mg
Total carbohydrate: 40 g
Fiber: 5 g
Protein: 8 g

Posted October 2011

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215