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Food for thought: Culinary Medicine Tips for Reducing Your Salt Intake

We all know that too much sodium (aka salt) in our diet can contribute to high blood pressure (aka hypertension). We also know that hypertension can affect your visual health, and in some cases, cause permanent visual loss.


More than 70% of sodium folks consume in their diet is from processed and prepared foods, while only 5% comes from additions during cooking and 5% from salting at the table


So, what are some tips I like to share with my patients about reducing their salt intake?


  • Cook! Reducing processed and prepared foods is a major source of reducing salt intake


From the ACLM Culinary Medicine Course: “When salting, the optimal level for flavor without over salting is achieved when you can taste the flavor of the food toward the back of your tongue but don’t get a dry or parched feeling in your throat after eating it.”

  • Savory foods: add herbs or spices

  • Sweet foods: add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or ginger

  • Add a squeeze of lemon prior to salting. Lemon heightens the acid and flavor in a dish.

  • Texture is important too- crispy and crunchy textures stimulate the appetite.

  • Creamy is comforting but a puree for a long time can get boring and unappetizing.



Anyone inspired to cook after this? Who loves cooking vs. baking?


I’m personally a baker but will cook to survive :)


Sources:

Raff et al. “Salt intake determines retinal arteriolar structure in treatment resistant hypertension independent of blood pressure.”Atherosclerosis, 222(1), 2012.


Bringmann et al. “Intake of dietary salt and drinking water: Implications for the development of age-related macular degeneration.” Molecular Vision 2016; 1437-1454.


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