Basil, cilantro, oregano and dill. Somehow putting the names of those herbs together does not have the same recognition as Simon and Garfunkel’s “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,” but all are wonderful culinary herbs that can be used to enhance our cooking. They provide a way to flavor foods without the addition of salt.
As the spring bulbs and flowering trees are blooming, I also watch my herbs spring to life in my herb garden and think about what new herb I will plant in it this year.
Herbs can be planted in the ground or grown in pots of varying sizes. They need good drainage and regular watering. Some such as chives, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano and parsley are perennials and return each year. Others, such as basil, dill and savory, termed annuals, need to be planted each year. You can start herbs from seeds or buy them as already-started plants in pots from your local greenhouse.
As a registered dietitian on a cardiology unit, a big part of my job is educating patients on how to follow a low-sodium, heart-healthy diet. It’s important to note that a low-sodium diet is not just recommended for those with heart disease, but is for everyone.
The American Heart Association published new guidelines this year stating that all Americans need to limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Too much sodium, or salt, can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. High blood pressure is already a major public health problem, with 90 percent of American adults expected to develop it in their lifetime. This is no surprise since the average adult consumes about 3,000 mg of sodium per day, more than twice the new recommendation.
Salt has a variety of roles in food, so oftentimes it can be hard to avoid. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started: Continue reading →