Are you a fellow salt freak? I am ashamed to admit that I was almost proud of it. It wasn’t until I realized that a pretzel is not just a vehicle for salt that I figured out salt could be really bad for your health.
Many health issues are caused by too many salty foods in your diet, like high blood pressure and heart disease, and really, who wants either of those? Learning how to reduce your sodium intake is easier than you might think. Take it from a salt lover like me; there are some easy ways to bring flavor to food without doing the shake, shake, shake. Let’s take a closer look.
Ketchup, soy sauce (gasp), and salad dressings are super-high in salt content. You can make your own or find some low-sodium options.
I am guilty of salting before tasting. I’ve since stopped this practice and made sure something needs salt before I add it.
Don’t stop cold turkey, especially if that’s one of the things that you normally add salt to. You don’t have to opt for a no salt diet. The best way to reduce your sodium intake and form healthier habits is to go slow. Believe it or not, your taste buds will get used to low salt foods if you do it slowly. At dinner, don’t push the saltshaker away. Instead, use less than you normally would. In time, you will enjoy the taste of the food without kicking it up with all that sodium.
Make your next meal sing by using herbs and spices. While I used to use salt and maybe a little basil to add some zing to recipes, I now love to try different things. Experiment with thyme, ginger, and turmeric. Any herb or spice you use will add flavor and reduce your sodium intake.
Add a little olive oil, sprinkle some rosemary, and a dash of salt to the chicken and roast til done, and viola; you’ve got a simple dinner that will taste like it’s from your favorite restaurant.
Or douse that chicken in a rub made with my new go-to spice; smoked paprika. Add some pepper garlic powder, oregano, basil, and parsley, a dash of salt and pepper, and mix for a rub better than any steakhouse.
Speaking of steakhouses, you can also use that same mixture on beef. Sprinkle on top and press into the meat. Let it sit for 5 minutes while you are preheating your barbeque. Place it on your grill for a few minutes on each side, depending on if you like it rare or well done. Try to turn your steak only once while grilling.
Want to add a real burst of flavor to your recipes? Squeeze some fresh lemon, limes, or oranges and grate the peel for zest. Citrus juices are a great way to make vegetables, and fish take center stage.
There are many different types of vinegar waiting on your grocer’s shelf for you to pick them up and try them. Here’s a great way to make London Broil tender, flavorful and cut your sodium intake:
You have probably seen salt substitutes on your grocer’s shelf. Just make sure that their ingredients don’t cause any health issues or contradict your medications. The last thing you want to do is exacerbate another issue while your trying to lower sodium intake.
If you buy processed and pre-packaged foods, you are probably already aware that they are notorious for their high sodium levels. Use fresh ingredients instead. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to cook fresh foods when you unleash those cooking abilities you didn’t know you had.
Remember when we talked about pre-packaged foods and their high sodium content? This means canned goods too. Make sure to rinse off anything you use that comes out of a can and reduce your sodium intake up to 40%.
Those food labels are mandatory for a reason. PLEASE READ THEM! Check for sodium content. Do your health a favor, and don’t just consume what’s in the package before you know what is in it.
Reducing your sodium intake may take time, but you’ll get there. The body is an amazing machine, and your taste buds will adapt to the change. Be good to yourself, read some labels, and stay healthy!
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Linda Guerrera is the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You. As an award-winning media professional, she has spent her entire career as on on-air radio personality, program director, voice-over artist ...
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