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The Nutrition Nosh

Susan Glassman, Extension Educator, shares Nutrition and Wellness information and recipes to make life healthier!
The Salty Six

Treat your heart to a cup of healthy soup!

Healthy Soup for a Strong Heart

We are in the month of February, and that means American Heart Month!

The message is to take extra care of our heart this month! One suggestion is to become more aware of sodium for better heart health. The recommendation from the American Dietary Guidelines is to eat no more than 2300mg of sodium per day. Eating too much sodium causes your body to retain water putting an extra burden on your heart muscle and blood vessel system. This could lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and risk for stroke.

Use the simple suggestions listed below to cut salt from your diet. The best way to reduce the sodium in your diet is to avoid prepackaged, processed foods. Watch out for the "Salty Six", the most common foods that add salt to your diet.

The Salty Six

  • Breads and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soup
  • Sandwiches

Try the following suggestions to decrease salt when you are cooking:

  • Avoid adding table salt to you food
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor food
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Choose lean meats, skinless poultry, fish and tuna canned in water
  • Choose "no-sodium or unsalted" nuts and canned foods
  • Make your own soups to cut sodium
  • Rinse anything canned to reduce sodium
  • Use lemon, lime and vinegar to give your food a zesty taste without salt

Take extra care of your heart this month and make sure you are making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle behaviors! Something as simple as a healthy soup could mean the difference between a strong heart and one that is neglected.

Try our quick and tasty Italian Vegetable Soup recipe that I am sure you and your HEART will love.


Italian Vegetable Soup

Serves 8


  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can no-salt diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Dash of red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

In a sauté pan, cook onions until brown and caramelized. Add celery and carrots until crisp tender. Stir in garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, black pepper and red chili flakes. Add mixture to slow cooker. Add beans and tomatoes. Cover with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. Cook on low, 6 hours. Before serving, add chopped spinach leaves. Stir in parmesan cheese.

Serve with homemade croutons.

Nutrition Information: Calories per serving 281, 3g fat, 0g cholesterol, 96mg sodium, 1100mg potassium, 43g carbohydrates, 19g dietary fiber, 4g sugar, 19g protein

Check out other heart healthy soup recipes at:

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