Heart Healthy New Orleans Natives

Amazing cuisine, spirits, and culture! These are the things we’re known for in the Big Easy! NOLA natives have an above average sodium intake compared to other Americans. This may come as no surprise to most New Orleanians whose diet consist of mostly high sodium creole recipes. This puts many locals at a higher risk of hypertension (aka high blood pressure), diabetes, or kidney disease. If you love our city’s traditional foods, but struggle and you have with high blood pressure, listen up!

The struggle is real when it comes to living a balanced life in our amazing city, but it’s totally possible!

The DASH eating plan, backed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is one that helps individuals set daily and weekly nutritional goals. This plan allows individuals to enjoy the foods they love while simultaneously making better food choices. DASH guidelines include four major ideas:

  • Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains

  • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils

  • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils

  • Limiting sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

Cutting back on your salt consumption doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your creole favorites. Simply venturing out to find lower sodium seasoning brands can shave hundreds of milligrams of sodium per serving. Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning is a standard in most Louisiana households. Simply switching to a brand like Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends can help you cut back on sodium intake by near 1,000 mg per serving, while still enjoying your favorite creole recipes. Even Tabasco, a hot pepper sauce, has lower sodium, just 35 mg per teaspoon, compared to others. For your seafood boils, try using Geaux Creole Seafood Boil, which has about half the sodium of Zatarain’s powdered seafood boil. Small changes like these can allow you to indulge in your favorite creole recipes while lowering your risk for high blood pressure. If you are not already diagnosed with high blood pressure, these small changes can improve fluid retention and reduce puffiness immediately. For those who already struggle with high blood pressure, these changes alongside medication adherence can positively affect blood pressure regulation. Love being a New Orleans native without putting your health at risk!