Decreasing Sodium

Kara Emig, RD
Christian Living Communities, Denver, Colorado

The average American takes in about 3,300 milligrams of sodium per day — and that’s not counting the salt you might shake onto your food before you eat it. The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend people limit the salt in their diet to 2,300 milligrams per day. To hit this mark, we need to decrease the sodium found in processed foods, and start seasoning our food with herbs and spices instead of adding salt. By decreasing the sodium intake you will decrease your risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.

A good practice is to add seasoning during the last hour of cooking for best flavor, and choose from a variety of herbs and spices that best compliment the dish you are cooking. When cooking beef, try basil, dry mustard, nutmeg, sage, onion, curry and garlic. Pork tastes delicious with rosemary, applesauce, pineapple, cloves, or nutmeg. To enhance your fish, add curry, cumin, green pepper, lemon juice, marjoram, onion and parsley. To omit salt when cooking vegetables, pair carrots with ginger, broccoli with lemon juice or vinegar, string beans with nutmeg, and spinach with onion. By cutting down on the amount of processed foods in your diet and switching out added salt for herbs and spices, you can significantly decrease the amount of sodium you consume.

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