How much do you love salt? Enough to want a salt-lick in your kitchen? You probably have that much salt in your cupboards already. Salt is a preservative, so you’ll find it in just about every packaged, processed, or prepared food item you buy. Add a salt shaker to your table, too, and it’s no wonder 90% of Americans ingest much more salt than the FDA recommends, risking high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Fortunately, most grocery stores are now regularly carrying herbs and spices from all over the world, giving us new opportunities to expand our palates. Who needs salt when you’ve got warm curry? Hot wasabi? Smoky-sweet saffron? Tangy, lemony sumac?
Once you start experimenting with new and familiar flavors, you may find that salt has been overpowering your food. Without it, you’ll likely notice whether you prefer rosemary or sage with your beef, lemon or ginger with your chicken, and dill or parsley with your fish. Want to replace salt and butter on your favorite snacks and sides? Try:
• a baked potato dressed in plain yogurt and turmeric with a dash of Aleppo pepper
• corn on the cob rubbed with a lime and sprinkled with cumin, garlic and red pepper flakes
• toast spread with a light mixture of olive oil, sesame, poppy, and caraway seeds
• popcorn with a little coconut oil and five-spice powder
There are many types of salt substitutes, but they can negatively impact the health of people with certain conditions, so be sure to talk with your doctor about whether a salt substitute is right for you.
February is American Heart Month, and there’s no better time to explore the multitude of flavorful herbs and spices available to us while taking care of your heart at the same time. Get more no-salt tips from the American Heart Association. Talk to your primary care provider or ask for a referral to a dietitian to learn more about the right nutrition for you.