Cambridge Cardiac Care Centre

Patient Resources

Patient Education Resources

Taking your medications correctly and arriving at your medical appointments on time is a great start but that alone is not enough for treatment success. As a heart patient, you must take an active role in your recovery by not only following the advice of your healthcare team, but also by proactively educating yourself on how best to manage your heart condition. Studies show that the most crucial element in treatment success is patient-education. That makes you the most important member of the healthcare team.

The internet is full of confusing, contradictory messaging. Which sources should you trust when it’s your health--your life--on the line? We have compiled reliable, medically-verified, science-based sources to help reduce this decision-fatigue. Rest assured, when we make a recommendation, we have only your health at heart.

Atrial Fibrillation Resources

Chest Pain Resources

Congestive Heart Failure Resources

Smoking Cessation Resources

Heart Healthy Diet & Diabetes Management Resources

Heart Healthy Exercise Resources

Mental Health & Stress Management Resources

Cardiac Devices, Implants and Procedures

Articles and Interviews with Dr. Pandey

Tips to reduce sodium salt intake

  • Sodium Smart Recipe Book:
  • Tips for Reading the Nutrition Facts

    Make sure you read the serving size and compare it with how much you are actually eating! In other words, if the serving size is for one cup and you have two, then you need to double the sodium it says.

    Make sure to check the nutritional facts on all food you eat; you may find even foods that don’t taste salty actually have high amounts of sodium. For items that do not have a label, you can use this guide that lists sodium content in many foods.

    Eat only 75% of the daily value! The daily value percentage is based on a diet with 2400 mg of sodium, which is far more than the 2000 mg heart failure patients should be having! When using the % daily value, try to keep your total for the day under 75% - or under 25% per meal.

    In general, there are certain types of foods you should avoid:

    Foods to avoid

    Instead, eat fresh food that you prepare yourself! You will be more mindful of how much salt goes in to your food when you have to measure it out and add it in! Use this Sodium Calculator to determine how much salt you are consuming

    There are some great resources to help you find low salt meals and the American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook.

    Here are some great tips from the Ottawa Heart Institute about following a low-sodium diet at home and when you are eating out:

    When you eat at home

    • Reduce your salt gradually to give your taste buds time to adjust.
    • Instead of adding salt to food when you cook or eat, season foods with herbs and seasonings that do not have salt.
    • Avoid “instant” foods that come in a bag or a box.
    • If you must eat canned goods, rinse the foods before cooking and eating them.
    • When grocery shopping, choose items from the outer aisles, where most of the fresh foods are found.
    • Plan your meals ahead of time (e.g., grill an extra chicken breast to use in sandwiches the next day).
    • Make your own or choose low-sodium sauces.
    • Make salad dressing with fresh garlic, herbs, olive oil and flavoured vinegar.
    • Add seasonings to soups during the last hour of cooking for maximum flavour.
    • At the grocery store, choose items labelled "no salt added" or "low sodium."

    When you eat out

    • Ask for food cooked with no salt.
    • Do not use the salt shaker.
    • Avoid cheese or sauces.
    • Avoid fried foods—choose grilled, baked or steamed items.
    • Choose oil and vinegar salad dressing.
    • Avoid bacon, sausage and ham.
    • Request that foods be served without the high-salt condiments or sides (e.g., avoid relish, mustard, ketchup, pickles, potato chips, sauces and dressings). Ask for low-salt substitutions, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, horseradish, oil and vinegar, and lemon.
    • Eat foods in their fresh states because fresh foods are naturally low in sodium. Try grilled vegetables or fish rather than battered and deep fried.
    • Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much you add.
    • A quick rule of thumb for fast food dining is to limit your sodium intake at one meal to ¼ of your total salt/sodium for the day (about 600 mg of sodium per meal). Most restaurants have a guide listing the sodium content of their food items.
    • Bring half of your dish back home with you.
    • If you can’t avoid eating a high-sodium meal occasionally, cut down on the portion size and make low-sodium choices for the other meals of the day. For example, if you are celebrating a holiday and you know your dinner will be higher in sodium than usual, make sure to choose low-sodium options for your other meals.

    Example of what to order when dining out

    • Grilled steak or chicken
    • Salad with balsamic vinegar and oil on the side so you can keep the portion to a small amount
    • Steamed or roasted vegetables
    • Angel food cake, fruit salad or sorbet
    • Roll or bread stick
    • 4 oz. white wine

    Visit the Ottawa Heart Institue for more information.

  • Low Sodium Salt Diet Guide

Chronic Kidney Disease Resources