We know we should be eating less salt. Most of us consume far more than recommended. Good habits include checking food labels for sodium content and ignoring the salt shaker.
While salt is essential to the body — the sodium in salt works with potassium to regulate fluids — too much can raise blood pressure, putting the heart at risk. Here are three ways to cut back the salt without sacrificing flavor
Season it up
Dig into spices to replace salt. Dried spices, like cumin and cinnamon, bring bold flavor to dishes while dried and fresh herbs, like basil and thyme, season with subtlety.
Experiment with mixed herb and spice blends to jazz up your meals.
Choose fresh or powdered onions, garlics, peppers, mustards, vinegars and citrus (like the juice, peel or zest of lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits).
Use cooking methods to heighten flavor. Roasting or grilling vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and deepens the flavor of animal and plant proteins, like fish and tofu.
A quick sear or saute on the stovetop enhances flavor with minimal cook time.
Cook with a light coating of olive oil, and finish with a splash of vinegar or citrus and a garnish of fresh herbs, dried fruits, chopped nuts or citrus zest.
Use good ingredients
High quality ingredients can pack so much flavor that they’ll hardly need seasoning. Choose the best you can find: in-season fruits and vegetables, flavorful cuts of animal proteins, the freshest fish and seafood and high-quality healthy fats (like extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil).
Broaden your meal-planning repertoire with these tips — and see how quickly your palate prefers less salt.
International flavors to try
- Herbs de Provence, France, savory, rosemary, marjoram, thyme
- Curry powder, India,turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, pepper
- Chinese five spice, China, star anise, Szechuan peppers, cloves, fennel, cinnamon
- Jerk spice, Caribbean, red and black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, thyme
- Italian blend, Italy, basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, chili flakes, garlic powder
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