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Shaking The Salt Habit
We all know that sodium is an essential mineral that is found in all foods. We need sodium to help regulate our body’s fluid balance, but we probably don’t need as much as we’re getting however.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to 1500 mg per day (about 2/3 teaspoon of table salt), but the average American diet supplies double or triple that amount. Excess sodium leads to fluid build-up, which makes the heart and kidneys work harder and may increase blood pressure.
Foods that have hidden sodium are: Chili sauce, soy sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, sports drinks, processed cheese, cheese spreads, canned vegetables (look for low or no sodium varieties and always rinse before using); breads; pastries; canned meats; and canned soups. It’s always a good idea to read the labels and purchase as much low or no sodium products as possible.
You can “shake the salt habit” by eating more fresh foods instead of processed convenience foods. Limit cured, pickled, salted or brined products. Prepare more recipes from scratch so you have control over how much salt is added. Try to reduce salt by half in your recipes or eliminate it altogether. Remove the salt shaker from your table and use the pepper mill instead. Season foods with herbs and spices, not salt. Below are some herb parings that are a good starting point for adding more flavor, and less sodium, to your food.
Poultry: Tarragon, Marjoram; Onion Powder; Garlic Powder, Cumin, Bay Leaf, Turmeric
Beef: Ginger, Dry Mustard, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Cinnamon, Oregano
Seafood: Thyme, Fennel, Saffron, Red Pepper, Ginger, Sesame, White Pepper
Vegetables: Salt-Free Italian Herb Blend, Black Pepper, Ginger, Sesame
Pork: Caraway, Red Pepper, Paprika, Tarragon, Bay Leaf, Minced Garlic
Potatoes: Dill, Onion Powder, Parsley Flakes, Nutmeg, Freeze-Dried Chives
Rice: Curry Powder, Ginger, Coriander, Chili Powder, Cumin
© Victoria Hart Glavin