• Cardiovascular

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Tips for a heart-healthy sandwich

Packing a healthy lunch seems like an easy task, but sometimes all the sandwich choices may seem daunting. Many deli, or processed meats, are packed with preservatives, nitrates and sodium that could raise your risk of heart disease and other health issues. So is there a better choice to build a lunch you'll love and feel good about?

Kate Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist, says what you pack with your lunch may help balance what you pack in your sandwich.

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The sandwich. Convenient and delicious, but not all fillings are the same, especially when it comes to deli meats.

"If it’s gone through a grinder, and had sugar and salt and other things added, it’s now been more highly processed," says Zeratsky.

But what about your favorite rotisserie chicken? Zeratsky says it's a step in the right direction, but it will have added sodium.

"Most chicken products do because they are leaner, and, so, they're adding a little salt in there to hold the moisture," she says.

Knowing that, she says, you can still create a healthy lunch.

"Complement that with other nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables. That way, you’re getting some added potassium," Zeratsky says.

A sandwich and a banana. Seems like a good match, but why?

"Potassium, on the flip side from sodium, you have two nutrients that can work for and against your blood pressure," says Zeratsky. "And, so, you're just creating a better balance overall."

Be sure to use a whole-grain bread to get your fiber, and consider an avocado, tomato or sprouts for added health benefits.

For more sandwich options, visit the Mayo Clinic website for recipes.

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