Salt is undoubtedly one of the most popular food additives in the American diet because it can preserve food, while also adding an extra dimension of flavor. Yet, there is a drawback to salt, particularly when there is too much in the diet. Sodium rich diets can increase the risk for hypertension and heart disease, especially in seniors who are already at a higher risk for such health complications.
If you provide home care for an aging parent or loved one, cutting out packaged foods is a great way to reduce overall sodium intake. You can also help your loved one adhere to the National Institute on Aging’s recommendations of no more than two-thirds a tablespoon of salt (or 1500mg) per day by preparing meals that use the following healthy salt alternatives:
- Rosemary – This herb adds rich flavor to poultry and vegetables, and it is also used in some pastas and soups. In alternative medicine, rosemary is sometimes used to improve memory and cognitive functioning in aging adults, and to protect against neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Garlic – Perhaps one of the most versatile seasonings available, garlic can be used on meat, vegetables, and fish, as well as in soups, salads and pasta dishes. Garlic adds a unique flavor that can replace a lack of salt, and because it’s high in vitamin C, fiber and manganese, packs a big nutritional punch.
- Lemon – Fresh (not packaged) lemon juice is a quick and easy way to add intense flavor to poultry and fish. The acidity adds another layer of flavor to a dish that can help reduce the need for salt. Lemon juice may also help improve digestion and weight management in seniors.
- Ginger – Derived from gingerroot, this spice has been historically used to treat nausea and other gastrointestinal issues. The combination of sweet and spice is also a good substitute for salt in stir-fry and chicken dishes.
- Onion Powder – Skip the onion salt and use this powder to enhance the flavors of meat, pasta, stews, and vegetables. The folate in the onion powder seasoning may help improve insomnia and depression in senior and older adults as well.
If you are a caregiver struggling to prepare the right types of meals for your parent or concerned about a loved one’s ability to cook healthy meals without help, find out how a part-time caregiver in Centennial could be of assistance. Professional caregivers can accompany seniors to the grocery store, prepare meals according to dietary restrictions, and can also assist with daily tasks like light housekeeping if you need a break from your caregiving responsibilities.
For more information about in-home care, call 303-957-3100 and speak with a Care Manager from Home Care Assistance of Centennial. We are a trusted, local provider of senior care, delivering quality in-home care services to Centennial and the South Metro Denver area. Give us a call today!