• By Jeff Olsen

Mayo Clinic Minute: Flavorful ways to reduce salt in your diet

September 14, 2017

Our bodies need some sodium to remain healthy. However, many of us have too much of it in our diet, and it's putting us at risk for health problems. A new study suggests too much salt may double the risk of heart failure.

The good news is there are ways to add flavor without reaching for the salt shaker.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute 

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads. Read the script.

The vegetable quesadilla being prepared by Jen Welper, a Mayo Clinic executive wellness chef, will pack a punch of flavors ─ even though its recipe only calls for a pinch of salt.

"It’s just completely overused," says Welper.

And there's an easy fix for that overuse.

"Bring down the salt content," explains Welper. "Purchase things with less sodium in them. And, then, just start from the bottom, and work your way up."

Besides saltiness, your taste buds sense sweetness, sourness, bitterness and umami — a savory flavor.

"If you can hit all parts, then you have this burst of flavor," adds Welper.

And those other parts can actually enhance the salt that’s already in your dish.

"Lime juice, lemon juice, any type of vinegar actually enhances the salt flavor," says Welper. "So you can use a lot less."

And, finally, Welper says, when your food comes off the stove and hits the table, make it a habit to sample before you shake the salt.

"Taste it first, and see if it actually needs salt," says Welper.

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