Healthy Living in Connecticut Blog

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How To Ditch The Salt


I was a salt addict before moving to a plant based diet. I used to salt everything, even before tasting it. I ate the typical American diet filled with salt, oil and sugar, and it caused my blood pressure to go up. It also contributed to pre-diabetes.

I remember when I first gave up extra salt, it took a few weeks for the taste buds to adjust. The process was made easier as I introduced several spices to my diet.

Spices have been an important part of human diets for centuries. Not only do they add flavor and aroma to food, but they also provide numerous health benefits. Turmeric and cardamom are some of my favorite spices, and, unlike salt, offer a lot of health benefits.

Turmeric, known for it’s bright orange color, is a spice that comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is linked to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's, and turmeric may help prevent or treat these conditions. I believe turmeric was a key player in keeping my knee from becoming painful when I was dealing with knee issues a few years ago, when the doctor told me I should have been in chronic pain I think this spice in particular, helped the healing process.

Turmeric is not just for inflammation though. One study found that taking curcumin the active ingredient in turmeric) reduced the risk of heart attacks in people with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. Another study found that curcumin improved memory and attention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Another spice I discovered was cardamom. This is another anti-inflammatory spice, and it also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It may also help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestion.

A study in 65 people with metabolic syndrome found that taking cardamom supplements improved blood sugar control and insulin resistance. Another study in rats found that cardamom extract reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in the liver, which may prevent liver damage and disease. As you can see, it’s a powerful spice.

A recent discovery for me has been caraway seeds. I use it daily now with some of my foods. Check out some of it’s benefits:

Caraway seeds may aid digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes, reducing bloating and gas, and improving bowel movements.

Caraway seeds are another spice to include for it’s anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation in the body, particularly in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. As you probably guessed, they are also a rich source of antioxidants. The compounds in caraway seeds may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. They may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making them beneficial for people with diabetes.

While spices like the ones mentioned above are beneficial for health, it is important to be mindful of the dangers of salt. Salt is the primary source of sodium in the diet, and high sodium intake is linked to a host of health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Most people consume much more sodium than they need. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. One meal at a fast food place will probably give you a week’s worth of sodium in a single meal.

After I gave up salt, my blood pressure normalized. Of course it was multiple factures, like losing 150 pounds, giving up animal products, exercising, etc. But salt was definitely a contributing factor in the deteriorating health years ago. I do not miss it as the flavors of these spices more than make up for it!

PRP Injections For The Knee
Making Health A Priority

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