“Pass the salt, please.” We sprinkle it on everything we eat, or so it seems. We’d salt salt, goes the joke.
But in all seriousness, we’re consuming too much sodium, which is a form of salt. Our bodies need a little sodium to work properly, but too much of it increases our risk for high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Maybe we should say instead, “Pass on the salt, please.”
To celebrate National Nutrition Month, Lee Health clinical dietitian Casey M. Richardson, RD, shares how cooking with herbs and spices, combined with a few basic cooking techniques, can lower our sodium intake without sacrificing flavor.
“Fresh and prepared at-home meals are your best choice to limiting sodium intake,” Richardson says. “Americans get about 70 percent of their daily sodium from processed and restaurant foods. Creating your own meals allows you to add spices and herbs that flavor your food without adding sodium, extra fat, and calories.”
Richardson says research indicates herbs and spices not only can help lower your sodium intake, but also help protect against diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
“A wide variety of herbs and spices have been identified as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” Richardson says. “Turmeric and ginger, for example, are antioxidant-rich spices that also have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help decrease pain and protect against disease.”