Celebrate National More Herbs Less Salt Day on Aug 29
August 29th is National More Herbs Less Salt Day. This is a day that has been created to remind us to be cognizant of the amount of sodium we are consuming on a daily basis. And, truth be told, it is a lot.
According to the CDC, the average American consumes about 3,400mg of sodium every day. But the Dietary Guidelines for Americans set the maximum consumption level at 2,300mg per day. And most doctors would consider that to still be a little excessive. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500mg of sodium.
It is pretty safe to say that, unless you monitor your sodium intake, there is a good chance you may be consuming too much. It is not that salt is bad. Sodium is actually an electrolyte that the body needs for nerve and muscle function. However, it only becomes an issue when we consume too much.
Today, we are going to talk about all things salt – why too much is harmful to your health, what happens when you reduce consumption, and how you can make your food taste great without it the next time you turn on the range or cooktop. Hold on to your taste buds, here we go!
The Dangers of Too Much Salt
If you pay attention to labels, it seems like there is sodium in nearly all the foods we consume – especially processed, pre-packaged foods. In many cases, salt is used as a means of preserving foods. Without calculating your sodium intake each day, you could be consuming too much. Over time, this can cause both short- and long-term effects, including:
-Increased blood pressure
-Increased risk of stomach cancer
-Increased risk of heart disease
There are a few signs you can pay attention to that may indicate you are consuming too much salt, including:
-Feeling bloated in your stomach
-Having high blood pressure
-Swollen or puffy hands, feet, face, and ankles
-Poor sleep quality
Keep in mind that these signs could indicate other underlying health issues, too, so it is best to speak to your doctor to get to the root cause.
Benefits of Reducing Your Sodium Intake
When you cut sodium from your life, your body will thank you. A low sodium diet is great for:
-Lowering your risk for kidney disease since your kidneys won’t have to work as hard
-Controlling diabetes because you are maintaining healthy blood pressure levels
-Reducing your blood pressure
-Build stronger bones due to no longer lacking depleting calcium from your bones
-Decreasing the risk of stomach cancer thanks to a healthier gut
Don’t worry – the temporary tantrum by your taste buds will soon subside once you begin to discover new ways to entice them.
Herbs to Replace Salt in Your Diet
Nobody is telling you that you have to give up salt entirely. But a little goes a long way. Besides, there are so many other flavor combinations out there for you to try if you just open up and invite new herbs into your kitchen. Once you do, you may find that you don’t even miss the salt.
Below are a few herbs that will give you the burst of flavor you are looking for without overdoing it on the salt.
Experiment with different flavor combinations, bringing some of these spices together with one another to create unique and delicious recipes – and you won’t even miss the salt!
Give These Recipes a Try
As a society, we have grown so accustomed to salt and the flavor it gives our foods. For instance, there are several foods that Americans tend to consume in high numbers that are overflowing with sodium, including fried chicken, tacos/burritos, soups, burgers, pizza, cold cuts, and pasta dishes.
So, what if you replaced the salt with more herbs and created some fantastic low-sodium recipes you and your family will love? To help you give it a try, we’ve included some recipes that are great for more herbs and less salt per day – and without sacrificing flavor.
Take a look!
Crispy Potato Skins
For many, crispy potato skins are an appetizer that can fare well as a dish all on its own. With cheese, bacon, and sour cream all melted on top of a potato skin – it definitely has some sodium, doesn’t it? Ditch the toppings and turn to flavors like rosemary and pepper or consider adding basil, chives, dill, garlic, cayenne pepper, caraway seed, tarragon, or thyme.
You won’t miss the salt.
Balsamic Roast Chicken
When mixed with brown sugar, balsamic vinegar can coat the chicken in a glaze that acts like gravy but is much healthier with much less sodium. It’s sweet and tart and pairs well with savory poultry. With herbs like rosemary, garlic, and black pepper, we know that you will not be reaching for the salt shaker with balsamic roast chicken.
As we are heading into the fall season, warming soups and stews are always a favorite go-to meal. Unfortunately, finding a beef stew recipe that isn’t loaded with sodium is tough to do, until now. This recipe is made with onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, celery, bay leaf, wine, mustard, and tomato paste. That is where it gets its flavor. And, well, you know what you won’t be missing.
Pork and Mushroom Casserole with Gremolata
The flavor combination of pork and mushroom casserole with gremolata leaves nothing to be desired. It is filling, rich, flavorful, and downright delish. Yet the sodium is still kept to a minimum. Again, the use of onion, garlic, celery, thyme, mushrooms, sage, and rosemary are all that are needed to make a fantastic, healthy dinner.
Try Something New for More Herbs Less Salt Day
These are just a few options for you, but your diet is never limited. You can take any one of your recipes and transform it into a low-sodium option by removing the ingredients that are high in salt and replacing them with lower-sodium options. Add lots of herbs and seasonings, use the powerful flavor of certain veggies, and so on. You may just be surprised by what you create!