A Well-Fed Heart reader wrote to ask if we had any recipes for no-salt herb and spice mixes because her partner was just diagnosed with hypertension. That sent us on a sodium-free mission.
Known as the “silent killer”, hypertension is the #1 cardiovascular diagnoses in America, affecting 90% of Americans in their lifetimes. Fortunately, there are many ways to lower high blood pressure and reducing the sodium in our diets is one easy way.
The daily guideline for sodium is 1 teaspoon per day, or 2300 mg per day. If you have hypertension, or you’re over the age of 50, then the daily guideline is 2/3 of a teaspoon or 1500 mg per day.
Roughly 70% of the sodium in our diet comes from “hidden sources”, foods that we generally don’t think of being high in sodium such as soups, breads, canned goods and dairy products. Look for low-sodium options and try to eat as much fresh food as possible.
A common complaint is that the “low-sodium” alternatives don’t have as much flavor. So how do we make low-sodium TASTE good? Here are 6 ideas to spice up your dishes salt-free!
- Make your own sodium-free seasoning blend using your favorite dried herbs and spices. There are a lot of “salt-free” seasoning blends out there but they can really put a dent in your wallet ranging from $3.50 to $7.50 a pop. If you buy the same herbs and spices in bulk and mix them yourself, you can make your own for less than $2.50.
DIY Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend: Combine garlic, onion, black pepper, parsley, fennel, basil, bay, marjoram, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, mustard, rosemary, and celery seed.
- Ditch the prepared seasonings. I’m talking about sloppy joe, taco and gravy mixes you find in pouches. Instead, look at the ingredient list and make your own without the preservatives and excessive salt.
DIY Taco Seasoning: Combine chili pepper, cumin, garlic, onion, brown sugar, paprika and lemon/lime.
- Instead of bouillon cubes, make your own salt-free savory soup base.
DIY Bouillon: Garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil, red pepper, onion, paprika and celery seed. Use dried or fresh herbs and spices.
- Use toasted seeds to add a “salty dimension” to your next soup.
- Fresh herbs, when they’re available, are the gold standard in adding flavor to any dish. Remember that 1 tsp. dried = 1 Tbsp. fresh.
- “No-Salt” salts are another great alternative to salt to add to your seasoning blends. Made from potassium chloride, they contribute a significant amount of potassium to the diet aiding in blood pressure reduction.
Making your own sodium-free seasoning blends is a no-brainer! It’s saves money, reduces the amount of preservatives and additives in your diet and is individualized for YOUR taste buds!