Lose the sodium, keep the flavor with herbs

February 22, 2011|Lynn Little

Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Hypertension or high blood pressure is sometimes called the "silent killer" because people can't feel high blood pressure. Although there are some signs or symptoms of hypertension, they are easily overlooked.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans reduce their daily sodium consumption to less than 2,300 milligrams. People older than 51 and black people of any age or people who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease are encouraged to further reduce sodium consumption to 1,500 milligrams daily. ( )

Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker. To help people who want or need to reduce sodium, but still have flavorful foods, use herbs to replace salt. Herbs and herb blends contain a trace of sodium and can add great flavor to a low-sodium diet.

Spice up your meals using your imagination in cooking and be willing to experiment with a few new herbs and spices. Herbs are a cook's secret weapon. They give foods a better flavor and dress up simple dishes and they help reduce sodium in our diets.

For more information and ideas for adding a little spice and herbs to your life, check out the following:

The following recipes are from USDA and offers a tasty alternative to salt and uses herbs that most people are likely to have in their kitchen.


Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

Shaker spice blend

5 teaspoons onion powder

2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika

2 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 1/4 teaspoons thyme leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Mix thoroughly and place in shaker for use at table, on main dishes, vegetables, soups or salads.

Sodium: 1.78 milligrams per teaspoon

Herbed seasoning

2 tablespoons dried basil leaves, crumbled

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 teaspoon grated dried lemon peel

Pinch freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and blend well. Spoon into shaker and use with poultry and fish. Store in cool dry place.

Sodium: 0.65 milligrams per teaspoon.

The Herald-Mail Articles