Many people do not realize the danger of having too much salt in their diet. Medical studies have conclusively linked having too much salt in your diet to high blood pressure which may lead to heart problems, stroke, kidney disease and even dementia. While no one is advocating giving up salt entirely especially since it is a vital nutrient for humans, there are simple ways that you can cut back on your salt intake. By making a few simple changes you can dramatically reduce the amount of salt in your diet without really noticing that you are cutting back.
Here are some simple ways to cut back on salt:
• Put away the salt shaker. While no one is advocating having to eat bland and under seasoned food, studies have shown that many people salt their food out of habit. Think of it this way: if you really need salt is the walk to the kitchen cupboard to get it really that far? By simply not putting the salt shaker on the table you may not only find yourself using much less salt but enjoying the true taste of your food even more.
• Substitute for the salt. There are many things that you can do to get the flavor of salt without actually using salt. While there are salt substitutes on the market you can also use herbs, spices and even lemon to mimic the taste of salt without actually using it. Best of all, you may find that you have added a real depth of flavor to your food while keeping it much healthier.
• Switch to lower salt substitutes. If you do not want to give up your salt shaker, you have to cutback on sodium somewhere else. Many people are surprised to find that some of the most common ingredients that you use in cooking are loaded with salt. For example: if you are a fan of canned chicken broth try switching to the low salt version or, better still, make your own. Simply throw the carcass from your next roast chicken into a pot of water add some veggies and garlic and after a low simmer, for about 60 minutes, you have your own delicious chicken broth without the added sodium. While you may not want to go salt-free, there are plenty of lower sodium versions of your favorite cooking ingredients usually located right next to the regular version on the shelf in the grocery store.
• Be careful of the add-ons. What often happens when trying to reduce salt in your diet is that many people make the conscientious effort to reduce salt in what they cook only to add it on. Bottled salad dressing, barbeque and other dipping sauces and many other condiments are loaded with salt. That’s why we love them so much! If you want to add these things to your food then try having a small dish on the side. Rather than slathering your salad or chicken fingers with dressing or sauce try dipping them just a little bit at a time or use your knife to spread a little on. You will still get great flavor but with less sodium and fewer calories. The best solution is to make your salad dressing and sauces. There are many great tasting, low-sodium recipes online that allow you to control how much sodium you put in.
• Try to avoid using food that is highly processed. The key to the convenience of processed foods is that salt functions as a preservative. Keep in mind that if you are a fan of processed meats, instant sauces or quick prepare items they probably have a great deal of sodium in them. Keeping your food as natural as possible is a great step toward reducing the sodium in your diet.
These simple tips coupled with small changes can greatly reduce the amount of sodium in your diet without reducing the taste!