What’s the significance of More Herbs, Less Salt Day?
Mon, Aug 28, 2017
Put down the salt shaker and pick up the herbs. That’s the advice on More Herbs, Less Salt Day.
The annual observation takes place Tuesday, August 29. Created by a Pennsylvania company that sells herbal products, it encourages Americans to reach for herbs as an alternative to salt when flavoring food.
Salt can adversely affect our bodies, including major organs like the heart, kidneys, and brain. We need about 500 milligrams of sodium daily to keep a stable internal environment, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Yet many of us consume an estimated 3,200 milligrams of sodium each day.
Cutting back on salt intake is challenging for many, especially when almost 70 percent of the sodium in a typical American diet comes from processed or restaurant foods, the American Heart Association says. Fortunately, there are things we can do to cut down our sodium intake.
“Sodium typically is used to preserve foods or modify flavor,” says Lynn Wagner, an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic in De Pere, Wisconsin. “Start checking how much sodium is in each serving before you buy food. Look for options that offer the lowest amount of sodium.”
When cooking at home, consider using more herbs and less salt.
“Yes, it takes time and effort to prepare healthier meals,” Wagner says. “Less healthy options are often cheaper and more convenient. But by taking the time to substitute herbs in homemade meals in place of salt, you’ll create a much healthier, more nutritious meal. Adding a few herbs can add unique flavor to your meal and offer a healthy alternative to salt.”
If you have herbs in your garden, consider these meals for healthier eating options. If you don’t grow herbs at home, a grocery store or a local farmer’s market likely carries a wide selection.
Herbs offers great taste and are better for your long-term health. For example:
- Cinnamon reduces inflammation and lowers blood sugar levels.
- Basil fights viruses and can help prevent osteoarthritis, the wearing down of cartilage at the ends of bones.
- Oregano provides antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic properties.
- Cayenne increases circulation and reduces the risk of heart problems.
- Thyme helps heal wounds and, when swished around the mouth, can treat gum infections.
- Mint can help alleviate nausea.
“One of the great things about using herbs instead of salt is that you still get a rich flavor in foods, but you’re able to enjoy a healthier meal,” Wagner said.
Let the conversation around More Herbs, Less Salt Day help you reduce salt in your diet.
Dr. Lynn Wagner is an integrative lifestyle medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. She sees patients in De Pere.
About BayCare Clinic
BayCare Clinic, www.baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With its 100-plus physicians, BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, serving clinical locations in 13 regional communities. Based in Green Bay, Wis., BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center.