Eating a well-balanced and nutrient rich diet is a huge part of staying healthy. However, one aspect of a healthy diet that many people overlook is sodium intake. Adding salt to food helps to enhance its flavor, but too much of it can lead to health problems such as headaches, bloating, stroke, kidney problems, osteoporosis, or hypertension. Experts disagree on the exact amount of sodium we need each day, but their estimates range from 1500 mg to 2300 mg. Unfortunately, the average American gets around 3400 mg of salt each day, which equates to about 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Luckily, there is a solution to this problem by using herbs to season food instead of salt! More Herbs, Less Salt Day is a holiday intended to celebrate the use of fresh herbs instead of salt. Fresh herbs are easy to grow in your garden or in your home all year round. Growing your own plants ensures you always have access to herbs, eliminating the need to run to the store. Additionally, herb plants typically only need a small pot to grow in, fertilized soil, a location with sun, and water.
At a loss for which herbs to use and how to incorporate them in your diet? Here’s a short list to help of common herbs and their typical uses!
- Basil – This highly fragrant green herb has a bright, pungent, and peppery taste. It is used in many dishes, including salads, sandwiches, pasta, and pizzas.
- Black pepper – As the companion to salt, you probably know how to use black pepper. However, did you know that it has antioxidant properties and might even break down fat cells?
- Thyme – Thyme has a highly aromatic, slightly sweet, and pungent flavor. It has several varieties, including lemon and spicy orange. It often works well in roasted vegetables, chicken dishes, soups, sauces, and other meats.
- Dill – With an aromatic, sweet, and citrus flavor, dill is often paired with salmon, roasted carrots, or potatoes.
- Allspice – Allspice invokes a combination of fragrant spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, juniper, and peppercorn. It’s used quite often in Caribbean and Latin cuisine in the form of vegetables, soups, and desserts.
- Chives – Chives have a flavor similar to onions are are often used on potatoes, soups, and meats.
- Cilantro – Used in Latin, Asian, and Indian dishes, cilantro has a strong and pungent flavor. Use it fresh or dried.
- Rosemary – Featuring a pine-like fragrance and pungent flavor, rosemary is often used in Mediterranean cooking in foods like breads, pork, and soup.
- Oregano – This is another extremely common herb with a strong, slightly spicy flavor. It is used most famously in pizza sauce, as well as vegetables and meats.