Sodium can be like that devil on your shoulder. You know it isn’t good for you, but the allure of great taste can sometimes be too much to handle. And after all, will it really matter if you have just one more bag of potato chips?
Sadly, those chips and other salty foods can mean bad news for your heart health. Excess sodium intake is directly linked to high blood pressure, and therefore contributes to heart disease.
Thankfully, Gina Keatley has good news for salt addicts. Known as ‘America’s Culinary Dietitian’ and founder of Nourishing USA, a community food program, she offers a few ways to cut down on sodium and still retain flavor.
Fresh is best
Instead of grabbing a granola bar as you run out the door, reach for a bag of baby carrots or a piece of fruit. Processed foods, says Keatley, contain dangerously high amounts of sodium and should be avoided when possible.
Spice it up
Head to your neighborhood market and grab a few canisters of spices for your next meal as substitutes for salt. Not sure which spices to choose? “Just experiment,” says Keatley, who favors chili powder. “That is the fun thing about learning to change your diet. Think of it as a culinary adventure.”
Buy a grinder
If you truly cannot live without sodium in your diet, try buying sea salt and a grinder and place both on your dinner table. Then, cook meals without sodium and wait until you sit down to add a dash or two.
“It is an awareness issue; by physically adding salt you will begin to understand how much you actually put on your food,” Keatley says. “Once you know how much you are eating, you can cut down.”
Katie Morell is passionate about issues relating to women’s health and wellness. As a runner and yoga practitioner, she tries to live by the advice given in her Go Red pieces. When not lacing up her sneakers or doing a downward-facing dog, she is writing for a variety of publications including Hemispheres, USA Today, Consumer’s Digest and The Writer.