Heart Health, A Salty Situation (Week 2)

April is National Hypertension Month. In recognition of this, we have decided to highlight this week for you, some exercise suggestions increase your heart health and lower your risk of hypertension.

Lowering the amount of sodium and salt we consume is a tricky business, but it can be done. Since salt and sodium have been directly linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and hypertension; reducing the amount you intake is a high priority in changing your diet.

Below are some tips on how to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet:

About 85% of our sodium comes from foods right off the shelves, not from salt in the shaker. Taking a little time to research your grocery shopping can go a long way towards lower your risk of hypertension.

Most foods you can think of have a low-sodium alternative. Knowing how to find these alternatives is a big step in the right direction.

Many times, there will be a huge difference in sodium levels, just between brands. Make sure to read the labels to find which has the lowest amounts of sodium and try them out.

Many over-the-counter health aids, like ibuprofen, aspirin, antacids and dentifrices have surprisingly large amounts of sodium (even up to 760mg!). Check with your pharmacist or healthcare provider for low sodium alternatives.

This information and much more can be found in the book: “Pocket Guide to Lower Sodium Foods.” One of many heart health items available in our catalog and at www.ncescatalog.com.  Item # 4023.


Heart Health, A Salty Situation

April is National Hypertension Month. In recognition of this, we have decided to highlight this week for you, some of the startling facts and figures concerning heart health and hypertension.

Excessive sodium has now been directly linked to hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Since estimates suggest that Americans consume two or three times the recommended sodium amounts, this creates a very large and real concern over our sodium intake.

Here are some facts about hypertension and high blood pressure:

  • More than 50 million Americans have high blood pressure, which equals about one in every four adults, and that number is increasing as we get older.
  • Fifty percent of people over 60 develop hypertension.
  • Studies show that significantly decreasing your sodium intake can not only lower blood pressure, but can also prevent hypertension.
  • If a person develops hypertension, their risk for heart attacks and strokes, kidney and other organ problems also increase greatly.
  • Less than 15% of the salt and sodium we consume actually comes from the saltshaker.
  • Normally, the more salt you consume, the more you end up craving it.

As of right now, the recommended dosage of sodium per day is about 2,400mg, or about 1 teaspoon of salt. However, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine is currently recommending lowering that to only 1,500mg of sodium, and even less for older people.

This information and much more can be found in the book: “Pocket Guide to Lower Sodium Foods.” One of our many heart health items in our catalog and at www.ncescatalog.com.  Item #4023


Salmon Kebobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad (Food Network)



  • 1 medium grapefruit
  • 8 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno chile, minced (with seeds for maximum heat)
  • 2 scallions (both white and green parts), minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Wooden skewers, soaked


Strip the peel from the grapefruit with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Warm the grapefruit peel, ginger, and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the oil starts to bubble, after about 2 minutes, remove from heat. Set the oil aside to steep for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the oil.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Set aside off the heat, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.

Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.

Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat a stovetop or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns but the salmon is still moist, about 3 minutes.

Toss the grapefruit segment into the salad, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.


“Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad.” Food Network Kitchens (2004): 1. Web. 25 Feb 2010. <http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/salmon-kebobs-with-quinoa-and-grapefruit-salad-recipe/index.html&gt;.


Heart Healthy Activities

Thank you for celebrating National Heart Health Month with us.  On December 23, 1967, the first successful heart transplant was conducted.  It is important to keep your heart, along with the rest of your body, healthy. 

Create a list of 10 activities that will help keep your heart healthy.  Please post the activities that you, and those around you, come up with so we can all share in new ideas for maintaining a healthy heart.