According to recent research, an average American will eat up to 4000 milligrams of sodium a day. That is about twice the maximum amount recommended by the American Heart Association. And the average salt daily intake might be even higher for Canadians, as many packaged foods exported in Canada contains more salt than the same products in other countries. Why? Because according to taste profile results in focus groups, Canadians seems to prefer saltier food.
Ok, sodium is part of essential minerals required by the body. However, it has been demonstrated that the risk for many health problems are linked to an increased sodium intake, ranging from hypertension to severe PMS, from carpal tunnel syndrome, to asthma, and even to cancer.
But life should be tasty, and there’s nothing more tasteless than trying all of a sudden to quit salt completely, so here are a few tricks to slowly decrease your salt intake.
Boost flavor, not salt: Swap salt for herbs, spices, wine, fruit juices or aromatic vinegar to boost flavor. It’s crazy what a little orange zest in tomato sauce, lemon zest on fish or a few sprigs of fresh mint or parsley in your salad can help you to go lighter on the salt.
Use salty food sparingly: Instead of reaching for the salt shaker again, why not trying to use a few Parmesan cheese shaving, a bit of olive spread or a dash of naturally brewed Tamari to add punch to your dish.
Learn to cook: Prepackaged food usually contains a lot more sodium than home cooked versions. And it’s not because it doesn’t taste salty that it’s not high in sodium. For the actual sodium content, always look carefully at food labeling. Also, home cooking allow you to cut salt where most people would use it; don’t add salt in the cooking water of rice or pastas and rinse your canned beans before using it.
Use a bit less each time: As you slowly lower your sodium intake, you’ll see that you start to enjoy meals with less salt. The less you’ll use over time, the better your taste buds will adapt and rediscover the joy of whole foods.