Traditional cajun seafood boils make for beloved social gatherings in the South. With shrimp, crabs, or crawfish and a mix of vegetables including corn, potatoes, and mushrooms, this doesn’t just provide a delicious meal—it also offers a chance to join with friends and family in true Southern fashion. But unfortunately, this seasonal tradition is not the healthiest option for a warm-weather meal. With high levels of sodium, calories, and carbohydrates, this can be an especially dangerous choice for those with high blood pressure and heart issues. But with these tips from your local cardiologists at the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, you can still enjoy seafood boils and other seasonal traditions without compromising your health.
Look for Low-Sodium Options for Seafood Boils
Cajun seafood boils are packed with salt. Once your assorted seafood, starchy vegetables, and seasonings have been added to the boil, this can amount to over 1,000 milligrams of sodium per serving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. This means that seafood boils can pack more than half of your daily intake into a single meal. And if you consume more than the recommended portion size, you may even exceed your daily intake. Instead of using sodium-rich boil seasoning blends, search for lower-sodium bags. Don’t add additional salt as you boil but instead adjust the flavor with additional seasonings and spices like red pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice.
Fast for Lent
Lent spans the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter. During the Lenten Season, many reflect on repentance and cleansing by partaking in a fast until Easter. Not only can this fast hold religious importance, but it can also have a positive impact on your health! Fasting or abstaining from unhealthy foods and alcohol can have many benefits, from decreasing your daily calorie and carbohydrate intake to even encouraging weight loss. Giving up processed foods, fat- or sugar-heavy drinks and snacks, and fried foods can decrease the risk of heart-related issues and even benefit your mental and emotional health.
Bonus Tip: Choose Baking Over Frying
Fried seafood, fish, and French fries are popular additions to southern seafood boils and a fish fry. But, these fried foods are high in fat, calories, and even harmful chemicals. Choosing to bake these dishes rather than deep-frying is a great way to improve a meal’s nutritional content without skimping on the flavor! Drizzle your protein with olive oil, avocado oil, or another healthy fat and lightly season. Then, bake or broil with veggies for a delicious meal.
Schedule Today With World-Class Cardiologists
You can continue to enjoy seafood boils and other seasonal traditions while still paying attention to your heart health. With a few healthy changes, you don’t have to miss out on these Southern delights. And, make sure to keep up with visits to your heart doctor at Cardiovascular Institute of the South. Our cardiologists and specialists are here to help you understand risk factors, determine positive lifestyle changes, and keep your heart strong and healthy. Request an appointment with us today! We look forward to helping you laissez le bon temps rouler, the healthy way.