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Spice up your cooking to cut down on salt
Herbs, spices, and other flavor-boosting techniques can help you eat less sodium, a proven strategy to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure — one of the key drivers of heart disease — improves when people eat less sodium, a main component of salt (see "How salt affects your blood pressure").
One simple way to skimp on salt is to enhance your food with other flavors, including spices, herbs, aromatic roots (such as onions, garlic, and ginger), citrus, and vinegars. Two additional tips to optimize flavor: choose the freshest possible foods, and use appropriate cooking techniques, says Dr. Rani Polak, founding director of the Culinary Healthcare Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. "If you can combine these techniques together, your food will taste so amazing, you won’t want to add extra salt," he says.
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An alarming one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Known medically as hypertension, many people don't even know they have it, because high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning signs. But when elevated blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easy to detect and treat. In the Special Health Report, Controlling Your Blood Pressure, find out how to keep blood pressure in a healthy range simply by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing activity, and eating more healthfully.
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