In earlier times, salt was used as a way of preserving food and preventing it from spoiling. It has also been used as a flavoring for many food dishes. But, salt can be detrimental to your health in large amounts. Here are some ways to cook well but with less salt in the mix.

What are the two main condiments on most dining tables? It is salt and pepper. While pepper is left alone, salt is often scrutinized. The daily dosage for salt is about 2,400 milligrams. The majority of people have at least two or three times that much each day.

Where is it coming from? Read your food labels. While you may be using salt to flavor, manufacturers are still using it to preserve. Frozen meals, processed foods and anything else that is pre-packaged will contain some measure of sodium. Even the healthy food meals can contain above the daily intake level.

For people with high blood pressure, kidney issues, obesity and heart problems, eating too much salt can be a major issue. The best way to bring your salt intake back into acceptable limits is to reduce or eliminate it from your diet. You probably won’t be able to go cold turkey, but you can work to reduce it one week at a time.

Less Salt and More Flavors

Here are ways to let go of the salt shaker.

* Get rid of processed food – The major source of hidden salt is processed foods. Read the food labels. Know how much salt you are getting with each serving.

* Use low-sodium alternatives – Do you like to season rice with chicken broth or use beef broth for stew? If so, try using low-sodium broths to cut your salt intake. You can further dilute the broth with half a can of water.

* Use other spices – Salt and pepper are not the only spices in the flavor arsenal. Try something a bit spicy like cumin or cayenne pepper or chili powder. Stimulate other taste areas of your tongue and experience new flavors. Also, lemon juice can provide a tangy taste that may be close to what you taste with salt in food.

* Use herbs – Fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill and mint can bring powerful new tastes to your palate. Try them with vegetables to enhance taste.

* Try garlic – It smells wonderful and tastes even better. Press it to release the goodness. Chop it for stews or soups.

* Learn the taste of food – When you learn to recognize the natural tastes of food, you will need less salt to enhance it. That is what salt is really for – enhancing natural flavor, not masking it.

If you need to lose the salt, don’t despair. Learn new flavors so you don’t miss it at all.