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Heart Health

Spice up your cooking to cut down on salt

August 1, 2021

Herbs, spices, and other flavor-boosting techniques can help you eat less sodium, a proven strategy to lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure — one of the key drivers of heart disease — improves when people eat less sodium, a main component of salt (see "How salt affects your blood pressure").

One simple way to skimp on salt is to enhance your food with other flavors, including spices, herbs, aromatic roots (such as onions, garlic, and ginger), citrus, and vinegars. Two additional tips to optimize flavor: choose the freshest possible foods, and use appropriate cooking techniques, says Dr. Rani Polak, founding director of the Culinary Healthcare Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. "If you can combine these techniques together, your food will taste so amazing, you won’t want to add extra salt," he says.

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