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?