Swapping out the Salt
High-salt diets are becoming more common since most of our nutrition is coming from pre-packaged, processed food. “Often times, we instinctively reach for the salt shaker and add it to our already highly-salted foods. This habit can have severe side effects on our bodies and may lead to the development of high blood pressure,” says Pinal Doshi MD, PIH Health internal medicine department chair.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) of salt a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mgs for most adults, particularly those with high blood pressure. Cutting back on salt consumption can improve blood pressure and overall heart health. Instead of reaching for the salt, try incorporating these herbs and spices as a more nutritious alternative:
- Allspice: Lean meats, stews, tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, cranberry sauce, gravy
- Basil: Fish, lamb, lean ground meats, stews, salads, soups, fish cocktails
- Bay leaves: Lean meats, stews, poultry, tomatoes
- Caraway seeds: Bread, cabbage, asparagus, noodles
- Cider vinegar: Salad, vegetables, sauces
- Dill: Carrots, cauliflower, squash, potatoes, veal, lamb
- Lemon juice: Lean meats, fish, poultry, salads, vegetables
- Mustard (dry): Lean meats, chicken, fish, salads, broccoli
- Nutmeg: Fruits, potatoes, chicken, fish, toast, veal, pudding
- Rosemary: Chicken, veal, lean beef, lean pork, stuffing, potatoes, peas, lima beans
- Turmeric: Lean meats, fish, sauces, rice
Preparing home cooked meals is the most effective way to track salt consumption. If you cannot prepare food every day make sure you are purchasing items with low levels of sodium. “The nutrition label shows sodium content, including both the milligrams in a serving as well as the recommended serving per day. Foods that contain five percent of the daily recommended serving or less are considered low in sodium. Items that show 20 percent or more are considered to be high in sodium and should be avoided,” adds Dr. Doshi.