Salt is in just about everything you eat. No joke. Have you read the back of your nutrition label lately? This is also true if you eat out often. In fact, the average intake of salt is 3,400 mg a day. The recommended intake is around 2,300 mg and if you have high blood pressure or other sodium related complications then you’re generally required to keep it below 1,500 mg a day. Too much sodium causes heart and renal disease. It also causes cancer and a variety of other health problems. The key to cutting sodium is to get savvy with your cooking.
Did you know that natural herbs can help? Herbs add a powerful flavor punch and they also offer a variety of health benefits. Here are 6 herbs to help you use less salt. I have a feeling you are going to love each and every one of them.
1. Garlic – Garlic is the queen of seasoning. Or in my house, its king. It’s one of the most flavorful seasonings and you can find it in just about every culture. From Mexican to Greek, garlic is always a favorite. And garlic is versatile too. You can roast it for a sweet flavor, sauté it for a nice rich flavor and you can even boil it. Try adding a bit of roasted or boiled garlic to your next batch of mashed potatoes and skip the salt. You won’t miss it. We use garlic on 90% of our dishes.
2. Chives – Chives are another great herb. A member of the onion family, the smallest of the onion family, they work well in salads, on fish and in potato dishes as well. We love chives so much we grow them in our garden.
3. Basil – Basil is fantastic and tastes great in Thai and Italian recipes. It’s also a nice touch for a salad. Use fresh or dried to add flavor to a number of meals. This is my husbands favorite. He puts it in all his meat, soup and plenty of other dishes.
4. Oregano – Commonly used in Italian cooking and combined with basil, oregano has a complicated flavor that ranges from sweet to spicy depending on the meal. It’s also used in Turkish, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin cooking. It’s also often used to season sautéed vegetables and grilled meat including chicken. Fresh or dried, oregano is a favorable herb.
5. Sage – We most commonly think of sage as a Thanksgiving stuffing herb however sage is great at adding flavor to meat. It’s also used in sausage, soup and some Italian cooking.
6. Ginger – Ginger has quite a kick and will make anyone forget about the salt. It’s wonderful in soups, and can be found in Indian, Chinese and Japanese recipes. It’s works well with meat and vegetables. It’s also noted for its ability to aid digestion. I use ginger in a lot of my smoothies. YUM!
Salt is a necessary mineral. However, we’re consuming too much as a society. When there are so many other wonderful herbs, why bother with salt? Enjoy and experiment with the vast number of herbs nature provides.
What is your favorite salt replacement?
Terri Ramsey Beavers says
Well I sure learned something new. I use herbs a lot in my cooking but I had no idea that they help to use less salts. Thanks so much for sharing, I’m going to keep these herbs in mind for lower sodium intake.
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
This is such a great article! I’ve been trying to cut back on the salt and everything tastes so bland. Thanks so much!
I am late to the fresh herbs game, but I love how a lot of times, i find that I need much less salt than usual when i use herbs! Especially garlic
Great list, I already eat very little sodium; I’m not so crazy about it!
Elizabeth O. says
I absolutely agree about basil. It packs so much flavor and depth to a meal!
Shirgie Scf says
Garlic and ginger will never be absent in Philippine food, I always use it myself and I am happy to know that it actually helps me reduce the use of salt.
I definitely need a lot less salt in my diet so this is extremely helpful for me. I have already had gladder bladder removed due to stones, I don’t want it affecting my kidney as well.
I understand. I had my gallbladder removed over 12 years ago.
R U S S says
It is good to know that all these herbs are easy-to-find and are inexpensive. Our family has lessened the use of salt in cooking. It turns out, a high sodium diet is obviously not ideal and it’s best to be cautious before it’s too late.
lisa @bitesforbabies says
I always add some lemon to foods, mostly soups and stews so I add less salt! I always find that dill works great!
My husband is a huge fan of dill.
Well this is great to know! I’d love to cut down on salt intake so if these will help, I’ll have to give them a try! It’s so bad for us anyway, ick! But oh so good!
Donna Ward says
Very interesting – I have these herbs and as you said used some of them just for Holiday or big meals – I’ll experiment a bit more now! Thank you 🙂
I had no idea that ginger carried enough salt. It is good to know as I am trying to reduce my salt intake
I use ginger quite a bit. It has a lot of health benefits.
I love chives too! I’ve never thought to grow them. I might this year. Why not?? 🙂
Chubskulit Rose says
I usually cooks with pretty much on you list but the sage and chives. I totally agree with the salt, it’s pretty much in every stuff that we eat.
Dawn McAlexander says
I need to share this with my husband and daughter. I don’t usually add extra salt to my food, but they both use way too much for my taste!
This is very informative. Thank you so much for sharing. My mom has hypertension so we already minimize the use of salt. I’ll share this info with her.
This is a great list. I was just thinking of ways in which to decrease my salt intake, because I know I’m retaining it. This is right on time!
Cherri Megasko says
In February I took a trip to Jamaica and sampled the Rastafarian food – Ital. They cook with zero salt and just use herbs and spices to season their food. Even though I’m a self-admitted saltaholic I didn’t miss the salt at all.
Yona Williams says
Whenever I think of sage, I do think of Thanksgiving stuffing. It would be nice to explore this spice a little more.
Terry C says
Thanks for sharing. I often use garlic and oregano. I will look into these other herbs you have listed. I am realizing that I may use way too much salt.
Kelly Hutchinson says
I knew that garlic was a good herb to cut salt but I was not aware of oregano or ginger. Very good to know.
Garlic is my favorite and I use it as often as possible! I usually don’t season with salt unless I have to.
I love using garlic, basil and ginger. They are part of my cooking almost everyday. And I prefer using the fresh ones too.
I find that I don’t have to worry so much about salt as I don’t add much of it to my food anyway. I think if you use salt… use sea salt instead.
I am a salt-a-holic. Luckily I love garlic too so that is a good go-to for me too!!
Alysia from My Domestic Dish says
I’m a huge fan of all of these herbs, with the exception of ginger- I find sometimes it can be overdone or done incorrectly. We use plenty of salt in this house but, at the same time, we try to strike a healthy balance. I was raised by a red seal chef though so the golden rule in our house was to “season everything” from the get go 😛
Shannon Gurnee says
I love garlic and chives and definitely could see how those could help you use less salt. This is a great list!