Herbs and spices have a whole range of health benefits and will kick the flavor profile in your cooking up a notch

Sodium, the main component of table salt, is often one of the biggest culprits of high blood pressure and usually the first ingredient taken off the table and out of the kitchen during treatment.

Processed foods and foods from restaurants are often the biggest sources of salts in our diets. One of the easiest ways to cut back our intake (and save money) is to cook at home. Swapping regular salt for sodium-free or lower-sodium alternatives is one option, but ditching the salt and exploring the range of flavors offered by herbs and spices from the around the world will improve your cooking skills and benefit your overall health.

Four tasty alternatives that are easy to find

Garlic:
Its uses are almost endless – raw garlic adds a pungent and zesty taste to foods, roasting it provides a sweet and nutty flavor. Garlic has been linked to preventing colds, but more research is needed in this regard.

Lemon juice:
Not only a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C, lemons and lemon juice can really lift the flavor of your food and desserts, either subtly added with a sprinkling of lemon zest or made more robust in a marinade.

Cayenne:
The perfect alternative is you’re trying to cut salt but aren’t willing to sacrifice your life of spice. Sold fresh, dried, and powdered, cayenne pepper is must-have in any pantry and can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s also a great source of vitamin A, which supports eye and immune health.

Peppercorns:
Often assumed only to be a companion to salt, peppercorns are actually dried seeds. They are available in several colors with different flavors although black peppercorns are the most common. One tablespoon has approximately 1.7 grams of fiber, and also has essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Whatever your reason for cutting back on sodium, whether you’re looking to make your diet a bit more heart-friendly or you’re trying to get a bit more creative in the kitchen, there are countless herbs, spices, and condiments that will add flavor to your cooking and boost your overall health.

Related: Five reasons to include pistachios in your diet


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