Healthy Ways to Season Your Food
Consuming too much salt in your diet can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure and decrease in kidney function. An easy way to cut down on your salt intake is to alter the way you season your food. The Mayo Clinic suggests using “fresh or dried herbs, spices, zest from citrus fruit, and fruit juices to jazz up your meals.” There are countless cookbooks and recipe websites geared toward a low-salt diet which employ these seasoning methods.
Even when a recipe does call for even a pinch of salt, replace that ingredient with other herbs or spices such as rosemary, marjoram, thyme, tarragon, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, nutmeg, cumin, curry powder, ginger, cilantro, bay leaf, oregano, dry mustard, or dill (Source). You could also buy a seasoning blend such as Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute. The American Heart Association recommends making your own blend with the following combination: 1 teaspoon each of black pepper, ground; thyme, ground; sage, ground; parsley, dry flakes; marjoram; and savory, ground.
Zesting citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges are another smart way to add flavor to your food without added salt. The benefit of zest rather than juice is that zest has natural oils that provide significantly more flavor than juicing and with less sugar as well. If you’re unfamiliar with zesting fruit, there are lots of web and video tutorials to demonstrate. Have fun finding the one you like best! Here are some ways to use citrus zest according to thekitchn.com:
- Finely grated zest can be used in batters and doughs, or other times you want the zest to melt into the dish.
- Curly zest is used for cocktail garnishes and candied citrus decorations
- Large pieces of zest can rim cocktail glasses or infusing oils and syrups
Finally, using fruit juices can be a fun way to season your foods. For example, orange juice is a well-rounded ingredient. As a gentle acid, it adds a sweet-tart flavor to dishes such as orange-sesame noodles, ham steak with orange glaze, and orange vinaigrette for salad dressings (Source). Furthermore, by using fruit juice instead of salt, you will increase your potassium intake as well.
Experiment with different flavors as you cook and focus on using fresh, seasonal foods. Your body will thank you!