March 16, 2016

Savor the Flavor Without Overloading on Sodium

Author: Maria Conley, RD, LD/N

National Nutrition Month: Why so saltySodium and salt are two words often used interchangeably. Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods or is added during manufacturing. Table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride.

Our body needs sodium to survive, however, when we consume too much of it, we may experience negative health effects.

Blood pressure increases when there is extra sodium in the bloodstream. High blood pressure is damaging to the heart and may injure blood vessels, increasing the risk for heart disease, as well as other life-threatening health problems.

Sodium Recommendations

The American Heart Association recommends eating less than 1,500 mg a day of sodium (less than ¾ teaspoon of salt a day) for ideal cardiovascular health.

How to Savoring the Flavor without Overloading on Sodium

Sodium is often used in our favorite foods to add flavor. More than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed, prepackaged, and restaurant foods. Even if you never use the salt shaker, you’re probably getting too much sodium.

Choose packaged and prepared foods carefully. Compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium (per serving) you can find in your store.

Use condiments sparingly. For example, soy sauce, bottled salad dressings, dips, ketchup, jarred salsas, mustard, pickles, olives and relish are loaded with sodium.

Choose canned vegetables labeled “no salt added” and frozen vegetables without salty sauces. When you add these to a casserole, soup, or other mixed dish, there will be so many other ingredients involved that you won’t miss the salt.

Look for products with the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark to find foods that can be part of an overall healthy dietary. A Heart-Check mark does not necessarily mean a product is “low-sodium”, but it does mean that the food meets AHA’s sodium criteria. You can eat foods with varying amounts of sodium and still achieve a balanced and heart-healthy diet. To learn more about the Heart-Check Food Certification Program, visit heartcheck.org.

The good news is there are many alternatives to adding flavor to a dish without adding sodium. Fresh herbs and spices are a great addition such as: thyme, rosemary, fresh garlic and onions, lemon/lime juice, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and more! Be cautious of pre-mixed seasonings as they may have sodium mixed in as well.

Try the recipe below!

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Ingredients

1 whole roasting chicken

2 tablespoons oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Mix lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, garlic and oil. Set aside.
3. Remove giblets from the neck of the chicken and place chicken on a roasting pan. Loosen skin of chicken with the tips of your fingers.
4. Rub lemon pepper mixture on the inside of the skin and on top of the skin.Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on roasting pan.
5. Cook at 375° for 40 minutes. Increase temperature to 425° for remaining 20 minutes or until skin is crispy and internal temperature reaches 165°. Let stand 10-15 minutes covered with foil.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamie Williams.

This information and more can be found at Sodium 411 .



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