Eating Less Salt: Some Great Alternatives
While it’s not uncommon to run a deficit in certain nutrients, sodium (salt) is one mineral we easily get more than enough of. Health Canada recommends that adults do not exceed 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and ideally limit to 1,500 mg/day. A diet high in sodium is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Reducing salt intake helps lower blood pressure.
Instead of over relying on salt to flavour food, try using herbs, spices and garlic during food preparation. The key to making this work really well is slow sauté-ing. Simply sauté garlic and/or onions in a little canola oil over medium-low heat. Add finely chopped carrots, celery and fresh or dried herbs of your choice. This makes a very flavourful start for soups, stews and sauces. Then only a little bit of salt, if any, is needed for additional taste. Braising meats in a little oil and then deglazing the pan can create wonderful flavour and again require only a little, if any, salt.
At the table, consider substituting freshly ground pepper or a salt-free seasoning blend for salt. Sometimes out of sight, out of mind works best. No salt shaker on the table can result in no salt used. Place a small bowl of fresh, minced herbs like cilantro, basil, dill or green onion as a flavouring agent on the table instead. Wedges of fresh lemon or lime also add terrific, salt-free flavour to fish, chicken, Mexican dishes and more.
Most importantly, work at limiting processed and fast food consumption as these foods contribute up to 75% of the sodium in most diets. Pickled and smoked foods typically deliver a wallop of sodium too. Be sure to read food labels and choose those products with the least amount of sodium.
Let me know what your family is doing to cut back on salt. I always appreciate hearing from you.