Dietician's tasty advice: spice up your life and shake the salt

USING herbs and spices to flavour food is a good option for people looking to kick the habit of too much salt in their diet according to an Orange dietician.

Community dietician at Orange Health Service, Juliet Hawthorn says for some people easing back gradually is the only way her clients can eliminate salt from their diet.

“But other people just prefer to go cold turkey,” she said.

She said too, those wanting to eliminate salt from their diet should be wary of claims different types of salts can be included in the diet.

“Table salt - or types of rock salt - they are all the same,” she said.

Ms Hawthorn said the publicity over the last few days of the dangers of too much salt in the diet despite recent research showing a drop in salt content in takeaway foods, is an important focus for people wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle.

“There really is no reason to add salt to the diet and I would encourage people to always check the nutrition label on food packaging when grocery shopping,” she said.

Ms Hawthorn said some of her clients have great success by being introduced to a range of herbs and spices.

“There are some great combinations that will work for example to flavour your meat,” she said.

Ms Hawthorn said simply eliminating salt from the shaker on the dinner table may not be enough.

“You really need to check your overall salt intake and that includes salt used in cooking and in processed foods,” she said.

Health experts in Australia say by reducing salt intake from 25 per cent to 15 per cent, 5000 heart attacks and 5000 strokes could be avoided each year.

A  National Heart Foundation spokesperson says 75 per cent of salt consumed by Australians comes from processed foods with the potential to increase blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Most people with high blood pressure don’t know it,” said the spokesperson.

Turning the tables with healthy alternatives

Soups: basil, marjoram (in final hour of cooking), rosemary, sage, mint (for lamb soups), allspice, paprika

Meat and poultry: basil (stew), caraway (pork), rosemary (chicken, lamb, veal), sage (poultry, pork), allspice, cinnamon, ginger, paprika.

Fish: basil, dill, rosemary, thyme, allspice, cloves, mace or mustard, nutmeg or paprika.

Vegetables: basil (tomatoes, eggplant, asparagus and broccoli), dill (beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and potato), paprika, mace, cloves, ginger.

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