Hi mama, hope your 2018 is off to a great start! One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is reducing salt/sodium intake and for good reason. Sodium is necessary for regulating fluid balance but the average diet often includes too much. Consuming excessive amounts of sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, gastric cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are many approaches to reducing sodium intake but one of our favorites is swapping spices for the salt!
Spices are a great sodium substitute because they perform similar culinary functions, enhance the flavor of dishes, have health promoting and protective properties and contain impressive phytonutrients compounds. There are SO many spices and you can create thousands of unique flavor profiles by combining them! Today we want to share our 6 favorite spices and some of their health benefits!
- Basil- Aside from being absolutely delicious, basil has been found to normalize cortisol levels which produces an anti-stress effect. Basil also has antibacterial, analgesic and cancer protecting compounds! Opt for fresh basil when available and add it to salads, pasta, soups, make pesto or you can even infuse it in your water!
- Cinnamon– has antifungal and antibacterial properties, helps regulate blood sugar levels and is believed to boost cognitive functioning. In the western world, cinnamon is often reserved for sweet recipes but don’t be afraid to branch out and combine it with savory flavors.
- Garlic- has antibacterial and antiviral effects. It has also been found to lower cholesterol, reduce blood triglyceride and decrease atherosclerosis. When using garlic cloves, chopping/cutting and cooking minimally will maximize the health benefits. Use garlic to enhance the flavor of meat dishes, in salad dressings or sauces and to round out the flavor of soups.
- Ginger- Some of you mamas probably know that ginger can reduce the nausea and vomiting experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy. See this post for my anti-nausea ginger drops recipe! It can also be used to quell respiratory infections due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is particularly delicious in stirfrys, paired with fish, added to rice dishes and to flavor lemonade.
- Rosemary-is a potent antioxidant that enhances memory and lowers cortisol levels when inhaled. Infuse it in vinegar, use it to season meat and add it to bread products for a special treat.
- Tumeric– found to suppress cancer, reduce inflammation and possibly improve cognitive functioning. Combine numeric with pepper and fat to increase absorption. Tumeric is wonderful when added to vegetables, soups, rice and salad dressings/dips.
There you have it mama! 6 health promoting spices that will help you reduce your salt consumption without compromising the flavor of your food! If you need a little help incorporating these spices into your meals, sign up for our Blossoming Mommy and Baby Membership and get access to all of our recipes, DIY remedies and SO much more!