By Taylor Weber, Montclair State University Intern

Heartshape fruits and vegetables

February is American Heart Month, and even though it’s almost over, there is still time to show your heart a little extra love this month! No matter your age or gender, taking time to stop and make smart decisions now will help to support a lifetime of health that your heart will thank you for ❤ A tip that will make your heart smile is to reduce your sodium intake! On average, Americans eat close to 3500 mg of sodium a day, while the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2300 mg of sodium daily and to go along with this, our country has a major heart disease problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death and about 75 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure!


You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to decrease my salt intake?” Well, it’s easy — just follow these steps and you’ll be enjoying flavorful meals that your heart will love!


  1. Cut down on the processed foods – These foods are just jam packed with salt that are not doing any good for our health. Try eating whole, fresh foods because not only do they taste good, they are much more filling to help keep you full longer.
  2. Substitute with herbs and spices — Try cooking with cumin, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, oregano, garlic or onion powder to offer a nice flavorful bite just like salt does.
  3. Use low sodium condiments – When you are reading food labels, look for condiments with sodium around 140 mg of sodium per serving.

Try adding citrus juice — Adding the juice from fresh lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits are an excellent way to flavor your food without salt