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Less Sodium, More Potassium

Charlyn Fargo on

After adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors such as age, smoking status, cholesterol and diabetes, participants with the highest levels of sodium in the urine (an average of about 4,700 milligrams) were 60% more likely to have a cardiovascular event than those with the lowest sodium levels (about 2,200 milligrams). Those with the highest levels of potassium (about 3,500 milligrams) had a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular events than those with the lowest levels (about 1,750 milligrams).

The bottom line: Cook at home where you can control your sodium intake, and opt for fruits, veggies and whole grains, skipping the more processed foods. Your heart will thank you.

Q and A

Q: Are best-by-dates or use-by-dates required by law on all food products?

A: No, except for infant formula. Infant formula is required to have use-by product dating and it should be honored to ensure the nutrients are at peak quality. For all other foods, use-by or best-by dates are included voluntarily to tell consumers about peak quality, but it doesn't necessarily mean the food should be thrown out past the date. Use a first-in, first-out system when storing canned or packaged shelf-stable items. Keep the older dates in front so you'll use them first. If you use a product past its use-by or best-by dates, the quality may be affected but, in most cases, they are still safe to use. The dates refer to freshness and peak quality. The exception is food that can spoil, such as dairy products or meat.

RECIPE

 

Here in the Midwest, I tend to use my slow cooker year-round. I'd rather be outside grilling, but this is the season where spring can't decide if it's really going to show up or just wait another week or two. Here's a recipe for slow-cooked southwest chicken with a boost of fiber from the addition of black beans. It's from Taste of Home's "Skinny Slow Cooker." To lower the sodium, use no-salt-added black beans and chicken broth.

SLOW-COOKED SOUTHWEST CHICKEN

Servings: 6

3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

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