Sodium has gotten a bad reputation in the media. Nonetheless, it's true that too much salt in your diet can lead to a myriad of health problems from hypertension to high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of heart disease. Finding low sodium recipes can be fun, though.
Up to 80% of the sodium in the Standard American Diet (it's called "S.A.D." for a reason) comes from processed food. Things that don't taste salty can have a surprising amount of sodium. One jar of pasta sauce can contain more than a full day's worth of sodium. Beware canned and jarred foods, where sodium is used as a preservative. Baked goods also tend to be high in sodium – but don't taste salty because they have even more sugar than salt!
Remember, baking soda is really sodium bicarbonate; many leavening agents are sources of sodium. Did you know that a standard 4 oz. whole grain bagel has more than 500mg of sodium? Of course the sodium content is only one of many problems with eating a bagel...but that's a story for another day.
Eliminate Sodium Naturally
The best diet plan eliminates sodium by avoiding packaged, over-processed "food products". Our bodies need some sodium, but lots of foods contain sodium naturally – celery is a great source of sodium, as are bitter greens, artichoke hearts and beets.
There's also a world of difference between sea salt and refined iodized table salt. Sea salt contains essential minerals that have been stripped from table salt and is metabolized by your body differently. Adding small amounts of sea salt is totally fine for a healthy eating plan.
If you've always considered yourself to be a "salt junkie", it can be hard to give up your favorite white powder...but the health benefits are worth it!
Start slowly by reducing your intake. Don't try to eliminate salt all at once. You can retrain your palate by transitioning slowly, and you'll never miss it! Add spices and herbs instead of salt and experiment with different flavors. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can really brighten the flavors of a lot of foods.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite low sodium seafood recipes with you. These are easy and delicious! Choose fresh, wild-caught seafood, when possible.
Broiled Cod (serves 2)
2 white sea bass fillets, each 4 ounces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the broiler (grill). Position the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
Lightly coat baking pan with coconut oil. Place the fillets in the pan. Sprinkle the lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and pepper over the fillets.
Broil (grill) until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with a tip of a knife, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
Roasted Salmon (serves 2)
2 pieces of 5-ounce pieces salmon with skin
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Rub salmon all over with 2 teaspoons oil.
Roast skin side down on foil-lined baking sheet until fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes. (Check if fish flakes easily with fork after it bakes 10 minutes. Continue baking only if it doesn't.)
Using a metal spatula, lift salmon off skin and place salmon on serving plate. Discard skin. Sprinkle salmon with herbs and serve.
Ginger Shrimp with Snow Peas (serves 2)
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 pound medium shrimp - peeled and de-veined
1/2 cup snow peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onions, and cook until they turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook for 1 minute, then pour in wine, and bring to a boil.
Add the shrimp, and cook until they begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.
Add snow peas, and cook until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy these quick and easy recipes!