Adding More Herbs and Less Salt to Your Diet

Meghan Hatalla

Benovates Expert Blogger

More Herbs, Less Salt.

We generally know what we need to do to be healthier. Exercise. Eat well. And more high-level kinds of things. But in reality, there are plenty of things we can do on a smaller scale that can have a big impact. Reducing our salt intake is one of them. And there’s no time like “More Herbs, Less Salt” Day to start making some changes.

But why less salt?

In short, reducing the amount of salt in the average American’s diet reduces cases of heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks by a lot.  Like, on par with reductions in smoking, obesity and cholesterol levels. In fact, if Americans ate just a ½ teaspoon less of salt per day, it’s estimated that there would be between 54,000 and 99,000 fewer heart attacks every year.

The main culprit of our salty diet are processed foods. Salt is used for preservation and, over time, it has just become how many people expect food to taste now. But it is possible to still excite your palate even without the amount of salt to which it has become accustomed. Using more herbs is a great way to play with flavors and discover a wider, brighter world outside the salt shaker.

Using Seasonings in Place of Salt:

  • Cayenne Pepper: Ground cayenne pepper is a hot spice that has traditionally been used to treat circulatory problems as well as add some heat to foods. Try it on meat and poultry or in stews  and sauces.
  • Chili Powder: Chili powder is a blend of hot peppers and usually includes cumin, garlic, etc. Use alone or with other spices on meats, poultry, and sauces.
  • Cinnamon: While you might tend to associate cinnamon with desserts, it’s also a great companion to savory dishes. Try it in salads or on vegetables.
  • Garlic Powder: Garlic powder is another spice linked to health benefits (although not as many as in its raw form).  Try it in just about anything…. Meats, fish, vegetables, salads, soups, and more.
  • Nutmeg: Nutmeg is another spice usually relegated to the dessert course. Tap it on vegetables and meats, like squash and pork.
  • Saffron: It’s considered a “precious spice” due to its status as a labor-intensive crop,but saffron is another delightfully versatile spice that can work on nearly anything.

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Integrate Fresh Herbs Into Your Cooking

  • Chives: With a slightly onion-like flavor, chives are a perfect garnish so as not to overpower a dish. They’re also said to aid digestion.
  • Basil: Basil should be a standby in any herb garden. It can add taste and texture to soups and salads while leveling up vegetable and meat dishes.
  • Cilantro: Also known as coriander,this is a taste that people either love or hate. Use it in meats, stews, rice, and more.
  • Rosemary: This staple of Mediterranean cuisine, with its lemon-pine tang, is great with lamb and other meats as well as bread, tomato sauce and pizza.
  • Thyme: In salads, vegetables, and fish, thyme complements hot peppers well but can also stand as the primary herb.

Start Today!

This list is just intended to get you started on reducing your salt intake in favor of fresh herbs and seasonings. What are some of your favorite herbs and spices to use?

 

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