Salt is linked to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke – three life-threatening conditions. If you’d like to boost longevity, what else could flavour your dishes?
Dr Frank Sacks said that “a high sodium [i.e. salt] intake can damage the natural ability of blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow to tissues”.
The professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health continued.
“Several trials clearly demonstrated that lower sodium intake… decreases blood pressure.”
“It boils down to having a healthy endothelial lining,” interjected registered dietician Sonya Angelone.
She explained that an endothelial lining is a “one cell-lined, thick layer that lines your arteries”.
As a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Angelone added to her line of thought.
“Too much sodium stiffens cells that line arteries,” she commented. “[This] keeps them from releasing nitric oxide, which keeps arteries flexible.”
How to live longer: Diet which could help you to live more healthily and boost longevity
A study cited in the journal Circulation found that for every 1,000mg increase in salt intake, the risk cardiovascular disease increases by 17 percent.
With the health risks in mind of consuming too much salt, what are the five alternatives to consider?
The Healthy Food Guide has put forth the idea of fresh herbs to maximise flavour.
In particular, take advantage of parsley, mint, basil and coriander – the fresher, the better – and add them at the end of cooking.
Looking for a savoury flavour? Try cumin or smoked paprika the next time you’re making a hearty stew or curry.
Spices taste better when cooked, so add them in at the beginning or during cooking.
Looking for a bit of a kick? Chillies and ginger are great additions to stir-fires, braises and soups.
Soy, fish sauce, hoisin, black bean and sweet soy tend to be super-high in salt content.
If you do need to cook a dish with these sauces, opt for the low-salt versions (you can also dilute it with water).
Citrus zest and juice (lemon and lime) are flavour-enhancing components to salads and vegetable side dishes.
Lemon and lime also make tasty additions to dressings, sauces, in chillies and dips.
For a zingy flavour, add a dash of citrus juice at the end of pan-frying fish or chicken.
The allium family is onions and garlic; cooked slowly at the beginning of a dish will add depth to your cooking.
Garlic bulbs, slowly roasted in tinfoil, can be squeezed onto of roasts or grilled meats.
Chives and spring onions can be added at the end of cooking for a fresh flavour.
Once you become proficient in utilising these alternatives, salt can be disregarded and your health will thank you for it.