Most people eat more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams of salt per day, which causes serious health problems. A high-sodium diet increases your risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. Only about 10% of our sodium intake comes from our salt shakers, however. Processed and restaurant foods account for most of it. The best way to reduce your sodium intake (and improve your overall health) is, therefore, to cook your own meals. Avoid canned soups, prepared meals, refined grains, and deli meat. Instead, shop for whole, natural, unprocessed ingredients. You can limit your salt intake even further by limiting the amount you add to your home-cooked meals. There are tons of delicious herbs and spices that will add flavor to your food without adversely affecting your health. Here are 5 healthy seasonings to replace salt. They’re so flavorful that you won’t miss salt at all.
If you really want to reverse the effects of salt on your heart, start cooking with basil. It’s high in magnesium and beta-carotene, both of which can help lower your cholesterol. You can add basil to anything from salads to pasta to smoothies, but we recommend Basil Pesto with Roasted Pecans or Tomato and Basil Bruschetta.
2. Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are a delicious spice that are rich in fiber and antioxidants. They can also help improve digestion and sweeten your breath. We love the flavor they add to Cannelloni with Basil Tomato Sauce and our Mediterranean Grilled Shrimp Entree Salad.
3. Bay leaves
Add a few bay leaves to soups and stews for a fantastic taste and fantastic health benefits. Bay leaves have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and can even help improve insulin sensitivity. Try our Slow Cooker Loaded Beef Stew or our Greek Lentil Soup, but take the bay leaves out before you dig in!
Oregano is high in fiber and is loaded with nutrients, including vitamin K, manganese, iron, and calcium. It also has antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties. It’s delicious in our Mediterranean Egg White Frittata and our One-Pot Chicken and Spinach Dinner.
5. Black pepper
Black pepper is a powerful spice. It has a rich, spicy flavor, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help stimulate digestion. Grind fresh black pepper on soups, salads, eggs, pasta, or meat dishes, or try our Black Pepper Salmon with Avocado Salad or our One-Pot Black Pepper Chicken.