Smart Ways to Use Less Salt
By Sandy Schroeder
Yes, the body needs salt, but it only needs one-tenth of a teaspoon per day. Average Americans get about 20 times that amount, according to HarvardHealth. If you easily fit into the excess salt category as you vote for pizza and always salt your fries, read on.
How Salt Works: What Can Happen
Sodium in salt helps balance the body’s fluid levels, contract muscle fibers, and transmit nerve impulses. Usually the body gets rid of extra sodium, but sometimes it causes the body to hold on to water, which increases fluid in the blood vessels and raises blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, or do not know what your blood pressure usually reads, it might be a good time to check in with your doctor and discuss salt, diet and blood pressure.
Where the Salt Hides
Salt shakers often make it to the table, and salt dominates processed and takeout foods.
- Sandwich meats
- Canned and dry soups
- Smoked and cured meats
- Canned juices
- Relishes, sauces and condiments
How to Replace Salt with Flavor
HarvardHealth suggests some tasty options.
Roast, sauté, and sear - Use roasting to capture the natural taste of chicken or fish and the sweetness of vegetables. Sauté or sear meats, fish, and chicken with veggies using healthy oils. If you steam or microwave foods, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or dash of olive oil to finish the dish.
Get flavor from healthy fats - Skip the salt and add the flavor from avocados, roasted nuts, olive, canola, and soybeans.
Buy fresh local produce - In-season fruits and vegetables from a local farmers market delivers maximum natural flavor that needs very little seasoning. Choose favorites such as sweet corn, ripe melons, green beans and Brussels sprouts.
Eat less bread - Get your whole grains from oats, farro, barley, quinoa, and other sources than bread. Breads use a lot of sodium to get the dough to rise.
Create a whole cabinet of spices - Dried and fresh spices and herbs can easily replace salt. Experiment with garlic, ginger, citrus, vinegars and wine. Cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, chili peppers, rosemary, sage, and thyme may all work, too. Look for recipes on sites such as Epicurious.com.
Wherever you are with salt intake, blood pressure and diet, always start with your doctor to sort out the best plan.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.