Benefits of Herbs and Spices Over Salts
By Priskila B., Lifestyle Consultant, Woodbury

You may have heard of the benefits and importance of reducing sodium in your diet, but why is it important? For starters, too much sodium in the diet can lead to hypertension, or high blood pressure, the prevalent condition in Americans. If untreated, hypertension can lead to serious health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg per day as a part of a healthy eating pattern. This is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of table salt, and unfortunately approximately 90% of Americans exceed this amount.

Sodium is found in many different food sources, but table salt is a common source that can easily increase dietary sodium levels. The good news, however, is this doesn’t mean our meals need to be flavorless and bland. Using salt-free herbs and spices is the best way to provide extra flavor to the foods we eat, and at the same time, reduce our sodium intake.

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries in different regions of the world for medicines and culinary purposes, as they not only add great color, flavor, and aroma to the food, but they also provide many different health benefits. Spices and herbs such as clove, rosemary, turmeric, sage, oregano, and cinnamon, to name a few, possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Herbs and spices have many other health benefits as well, for example ginger can be used to treat nausea, and garlic is commonly used to support heart health. Spices like fenugreek seeds are widely used to lower blood sugar in Ayurveda medicine, and traditionally rosemary has been used to help to improve memory, relieve muscle pain, and support the circulatory and nervous systems. Basil, turmeric, cardamom, and cinnamon also contain powerful immune-system-boosting properties, so these herbs and spices are often used in teas and soups in many regions of the world to fight sore throats, colds, and coughs.

Here are some recipes ideas and Livea recipes that incorporate herbs and spices:

-Use ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and cinnamon to make an Indian curry dish with lean protein and vegetables. You can also check out this Curry Roasted Cauliflower recipe!

-Experiment with cumin, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cinnamon to make a Mexican inspired meal, like this Taco-Stuffed Portobellos recipe!

-Create a Thai or Vietnamese dish using garlic, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, lemongrass, cumin, cardamon, basil, cilantro, and turmeric. You can also check out this delicious Shrimp Pad Thai recipe!

-Marinating chicken with olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and sage makes a delicious Italian inspired meal, like this Lemon Garlic Chicken with Asparagus recipe!

-Garnish meals with fresh cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, or other herbs to provide extra color and flavor!

-Add bay leaves, cardamom, or cinnamon sticks to soups for extra flavor.

Resources:

Duke, C. (2022, April 23). How to cook with herbs and spices – the definitive guide. To. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://to-table.com/blogs/recipes/herbs-and-spices-the-definitive-guide

Jessyratfink, & Instructables. (2017, November 7). How to use herbs and spices in cooking. Instructables. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.instructables.com/How-to-use-herbs-and-spices-in-cooking/

Leech, J. (2017, June 4). 10 delicious herbs and spices with powerful health benefits. Healthline. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-healthy-herbs-and-spices#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9

TA;, J. (n.d.). Health benefits of culinary herbs and spices. Journal of AOAC International. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30651162/#:~:text=There%20is%20now%20ample%20evidence,that%20affect%20cognition%20and%20mood.

Commissioner, O. of the. (n.d.). Eating too much salt? ways to cut back…gradually. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/eating-too-much-salt-ways-cut-backgradually