Why Eating Less Salt Promotes a Healthy Heart

Reduce salt for a healthy heart
Decreasing the salt in your diet:

  • Decreases in salt intake will reduce blood pressure by between 2-6 points. Regular exercise and diet resulting in weight loss will reduce blood pressure by 20 points. Salt isn’t the most important factor in a healthy heart, but moderation is important to optimal health
  • Adding salt increases the yumminess factor of food, and increases the amount of food intake. Food processors add salt, sugar and fat. Processing subtracts nutrients and fiber. The biggest problem with salt isn’t the direct negative consequences on your body. It’s the excess consumption of food because of the flavor it imparts.
  • Using too much salt limits the consumption of other high-antioxidant spices. Sprinkling a bit of cancer and heart disease prevention on your foods is much better than just sprinkling flavor without added benefit.

I heard last week that there are 400 different kinds of salt on the market. I wish there were 800! I love salt on everything. Controlling salt intake is an important part of the work I do on my personal diet.

How can you decrease salt without sacrificing flavor?

Add hot sauces and salsa. Peppers and salsa are loaded with antioxidants and impart great flavors to your foods. They have some salt and vinegar, so they have a similar flavor as salt but are better for you.

Rely on fresh and dried herbs and spices. I know this sounds completely ridiculous — how can any herb be as delicious as salt??? — but the flavors they impart are so gourmet as well as delicious, you’ll be really happy with the conversion.

Here’s a great chart to help you add the right herbs to the right foods. GetWaisted.com has antioxidant levels for herbs and spices and you guessed it — they are off the charts. Oregano, cilantro and parsley are my secret weapons. What are yours?

To Season: Use:
beets caraway, cinnamon, or dill
broccoli marjoram or oregano
cabbage basil, celery seed, curry, dill or mustard seed
carrots basil, thyme
cauliflower caraway, celery seed, curry, rosemary or tarragon
celery celery seed, nutmeg, red pepper or thyme
green beans sage
onions sage
peas dill, marjoram, oregano, basil
spinach basil, rosemary or vinegar
sweet potatoes allspice cardamom or cinnamon
tomatoes garlic powder, parsley, sage, chili powder
turnips rosemary
squash allspice, cardamom or nutmeg
zucchini caraway, marjoram or oregano

Secrets and Tips:

  • Substitute 1 teaspoon of dried herbs for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs
  • Add small amounts of dried herbs at the beginning of cooking
  • Crush herbs to release their flavors, using your hand or a mortar and pestle
  • Add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking

Dr. Mary is the author of the best-selling book, Waist Away, co-author of the book Get Waisted: 100 Addictively Delicious Plant-Based Entrees, and co-founder of the healthy weight loss program 
Get Waisted.

Photo credit: Jeremy Keith

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  1. Pingback: Why Eating Less Salt Promotes a Healthy Heart – Eat Live Life | My Blog

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