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Expert tips to fight excess sugar and salt intake in diet

Here's how you can eat healthy and tasty foods with less salt and sugar for your heart's sake.

Sugar and salt --- we can't even image our food without salt and sugar. Salt when ingested breaks down into sodium and chloride, sodium helps in maintaining electrolyte balance whereas chloride becomes a part of the acids in the digestive tract and helps in nutrient absorption. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that releases energy on breaking down. However, eating artificial and refined sugar can lead to weight gain. But as they say, too much of anything can HARM your health, eating excess sugar causes inflammation of the arteries and high intake of salt can increase your blood pressure, putting you at risk of stroke or heart disease. Our eating habits have led to high intake of refined sugar and salt, which ultimately have a significant impact on the heart. Heart disease is a silent killer as many people do not realise it at the right time. A diet low in salt and natural sugars is the need of the hour to avert the risk of heart disease. Our expert Dr Sanjay Kalra, Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital Karnal & Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, lists few simple tips to counteract the effect of high sugar and salt in the diet. Here are 7 foods you must eat daily for a healthy heart.

Tasty can be healthy too: The phrase 'salt to taste' is a misnomer when it comes to Indian cuisine, as most people believe that to make tasty food, adding salt is the only known option. However, this is not true as adding just a pinch of salt can make the food taste good. The same rule applies to sugar, especially refined sugars. Here are healthy alternatives to table sugar and some ingredients that help cut down salt intake. Follow these tips to make food tasty and healthy with less salt and sugar.

Load up fruits and vegetables: Make sure almost half of your plate is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables as these are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can protect the heart. It also contains potassium, which helps in controlling blood pressure and fibre, which keeps you full for longer and reduces craving for processed food. Moreover, it also keeps cholesterol in control.

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Control your cravings: Most of us can't resist a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream which is packed with sugar and salt. But eating these comfort foods, that are loaded with salt and sugar will only add to your calories without filling you up. This makes you eat more without providing any health benefits. Hence, stay away from foods that contain added sugar and salt like soda, sweetened tea, that packet of potato chips you crave, and even salted nuts. Here are hidden sources of salt you should know about. Eat home cooked food and if you feel hungry, then opt healthy foods like salads, sandwiches without mayo and cut fruits.Here's more on what your munchies say about you and how to fix it.

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