26 Feb 5 Tips To Lower The Salt In Your Diet
Patients often tell me how difficult it is to maintain a low salt (sodium) diet. That’s usually because salt hides everywhere in prepackaged food and restaurants foods and because they think unsalted food tastes flavorless, and often gross or inedible.
However, lowering the salt in your diet is one of the most powerful tools that you have in your quest to better manage your health through the food that you eat. It can help you lower your high blood pressure, and keep you on the right track if you are at risk for kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.
Watch this video to hear me explain my top five tips for lowering the salt in your diet, and for making low sodium food taste amazing.
1. Give up as many prepackaged foods as possible. Salt is added to many canned and frozen foods to help preserve them and to make sure they appeal to your taste buds right out of the box. Choose no sodium versions instead, and season them on your own.
2. Dine out at restaurants less frequently. When a restaurant serves you a meal, they want you to enjoy it so much that you come back over and over again. To make it appealing, they add lots of salt to their food so the first bite grabs you and pulls you in. By cutting down on your visits to restaurants, you’ll naturally lower your salt intake.
3. Create abundant flavor at home by experimenting with citrus, vinegar, spices, fresh and dried herbs. Try a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar at the end of a meal. Or, go out and buy some new seasonings to add to your spice rack. Two of my favorite “off the beaten path” spices are Za’Atar Seasoning and Herbes De Provence. Both are readily available at your supermarket. If you’re just starting your cooking quest, try cumin, paprika, chile powder, dried thyme, onion powder or garlic powder.
4. Add umami – the flavor that comes by cooking with high glutamate foods – to your cooking routine. Some of my favorite low sodium sources of umami are sundried tomatoes or tomato paste (both are high in potassium so careful if you are on a low potassium diet), dried or fresh mushrooms, or a little parmesan cheese. These ingredients boost the taste profile of a dish without adding extra salt.
5. Make it spicy. A fiery dose of jalapenos, smoked paprika, or a dash of hot sauce can liven up the flavor just as much as a dash of salt. Even a splash of hot sauce can sometimes do the trick.