Heart Healthy Herbs & Spices

July 14, 2021

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Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

How to Spice Up Your Meals 

Think of the last time you sat down for a home cooked meal. You took your first bite, and loved it, but something was missing. Most likely you reached for the salt to add a little bit to spice it up and add more flavor. Although this is perfectly fine every once in a while, keeping sodium (salt) intake low is key to a healthy heart across the life span.  

Currently, the recommendation for sodium intake is less than 2,300 milligrams per day which is approximately one teaspoon. This is not much. It is also important to remember that sodium is added to lots of foods you buy at the grocery store to help preserve the food. So, most likely you are already getting plenty of sodium throughout the day without even adding extra salt to your food.  

Whether you have been told to cut back on sodium by your doctor, or are just looking to improve your general health; today I am going to help you expand your cooking creativity by providing some tips and tricks to spice up your food without adding any salt!  

Salt Alternatives:  

  • Citrus fruits: Technically not a spice or herb, but using the juice from citrus fruits can brighten the flavor of any dish. Use lemon juice to add some life to your steamed veggies, pasta dishes, or fish. Lime juice adds lots of flavor to grilled chicken.  

  • Basil: This herb is extremely versatile and can be described as a milder version of mint. Basil goes well with chicken, tomatoes and salads, and lamb. Although fresh basil is the most flavorful, using dried basil is a great way to save money.  

  • Thyme: This herb pairs best with beef. It has citrus notes and has a deep and rich flavor. Add this to your steak instead of salt.  

  • Parsley: This herb has a peppery flavor, and can add life to any dish. If you prefer to add salt to your scrambled eggs in the morning, try adding a pinch of parsley instead!  

There are so many other herbs and spices that you can find at the grocery store that won’t increase your sodium intake. Next time you make a meal, try experimenting by adding different herbs and spices to it. Get creative and have fun! Let us know what your favorite herbs and spices are by emailing us at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!   

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