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How to Make a Low Sodium Diet Tastilicious!

I don't know about you, but when I found out that to have lower blood pressure I had to limit the sodium, my first thought was that food was going to taste horrible & I'd never be successful at that kind of diet!

It's kind of funny when I think back, because my first husband used to constantly tell me to stop salting the food when I was cooking. I thought it was bizarre and would use the salt anyway. Now, here we are – avoiding salt!

As it turns out, there are really healthy alternatives to that salt shaker. Do you ever watch cooking shows? While a few of the chefs seem to get carried away with sprinkling a "little" more salt into the recipe, one thing you'll always find is that at some point they will be chopping some type of herb; it could be parsley, basil, or cilantro or a choice of several others.

While I figured that herbs probably don't have much sodium in them, since technically they're grown like a vegetable is, the benefits of them astounded me!

1. You may already know that cinnamon (which is grown on trees) somehow helps lower blood pressure, but did you know that it also has recently been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer, including melanomas. Research is still being done on the subject.

2. Did you know that coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant? Both give us huge reasons to use them a lot! The fact that cilantro limits neuronal damage in the brain of Alzheimer patients caught my attention since that is the disease I watched my father suffer through. It's also loaded with vitamin A (225% of the Recommended Daily Allowance per 1/2 cup (100g), vitamin K (258% of RDA) which helps with building your bones, and calcium, magnesium, potassium, (and you KNOW that's great for blood pressure!) and a host of other nutrients.   

3. Basil: While it's another herb great for lowering blood pressure, it also has something called Zea-xanthin which is an anti-oxidant that somehow targets the retina and helps protect against age-related macular (eye) disease. Macular degeneration is a disease you may not hear much about, but as you get older or you know older people, you will hear more about it. My mother had it, and couldn't see very well, altho she didn't let on to others.

4. I can't cover all the herbs today, but here's one more: turmeric. It's another herb that's been shown to possibly slow or stop the growth of some cancers, namely melanoma and prostate cancer (combine turmeric with cauliflower for some reason), as well as breast cancer. This herb's seems to be pretty powerful – it has also been shown to remove some plaque buildup in the brain of Alzheimer's disease which slows that disease down. There's a ton more that turmeric seems to do – I've GOT to incorporate it into my cooking regime, and you should too!

Point being is that these herbs have tons of flavors in addition to all the great things they do. I only touched the surface of the benefits of the ones I talked about here. Oh - by the way - all the herbs mentioned here have lots of potassium that'll help you out with reducing your blood pressure! : )

When you're in the produce section and spice aisle, stop by and pick something new up and try it. It beats the salt shaker by a mile as far as benefits go!  

Images: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

REFERENCES:
"Herbs that Have Lots of Potassium" Written by Carly Roman. August 22, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/523914-herbs-that-have-lots-of-potassium.

"Basil Herb Nutrition Facts." http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basil-herb.html.

"20 Health Benefits of Turmeric." Published October 1, 2007. http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html.

"Healthy Herbs Nutrition Facts." http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/healthy-herbs.html.

"Cinnamon: Common Spice Takes a Stand Against Cancer." Written by Lindsey Garner, M.D. , MD Anderson Cancer Center Staff Writer. Written June 29, 2011. http://www2.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/2011/06/cinnamon-common-spice-takes-a-stand-against-cancer.html.

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