Sodium, although an essential nutrient to the body, is often over- consumed in the American diet.  Sodium causes fluid to remain in your body, which causes your blood pressure to rise.  When your blood pressure is high, the chances of coronary heart disease and stroke are elevated. According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily and the recommended intake is 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.  While the salt shaker may contribute to your intake of sodium, it’s not the only source.

Oftentimes the foods that add the most sodium in our diets are breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, soups, and sandwiches. Overall, sodium can be limited by making whole food choices instead of processed foods and comparing the food labels to choose lower sodium foods. 

Sodium can also be lowered by cooking with other spices and ingredients during meal preparation to add flavor.  Try adding onions, garlic, fresh rosemary, thyme, chives, basil, lemon juice or vinegar to recipes for added flavor. 

Check out this Spring recipe that adds flavor while also limiting the sodium.

spring peanut pad thaiSpring Peanut Pad Thai

by: Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD 

Ingredients

  •  8 ounces flat rice noodles (brown rice preferred)
  •  ¼ cup low-sodium creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 tablespoon brown sugar
  •  3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) rice vinegar
  •  1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) sesame oil
  •  ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  •  ¼ cup (60 milliliters) hot water
  •  1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) canola oil
  •  ⅓ cup scallions, chopped, including white and green parts
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  8 ounces trimmed asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  •  1 cup frozen peas
  •  1 large lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons / 30 milliliters juice)
  •  ½ cup roasted peanuts, lightly salted, roughly chopped
  •  ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Prepare rice noodles according to package instructions. Pour noodles into a colander and let drain.
  2. Meanwhile, make sauce by whisking peanut butter, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.
  3. Slowly whisk in hot water and stir until sauce is blended. Set aside.
  4. In a large wok, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add scallions and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in eggs and stir to scramble for about 2 minutes or until soft. Add asparagus and peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until asparagus is tender.
  5. Add drained noodles and sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in lime juice.
  6. Transfer cooked noodles and vegetables to a large platter or bowl and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Cooking Note

This dish comes together quickly, so be sure to chop and prep all ingredients before cooking.

Nutrition Information 

Serving size: 2 cups (350 grams) 

CALORIES 232; TOTAL FAT 3g; SAT. FAT 1g; CHOL. 188mg; SODIUM 227mg; CARB. 24g; FIBER 3g; SUGARS 5g; PROTEIN 25g; POTASSIUM N/A; PHOSPHORUS N/A 

Sources:

The American Heart Association website: Sodium and Salt. http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/sodium-411/what-about-potassium/

Recipe Source: Food and Nutrition. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Alexandra CasperoMA, RD is a Stone Soup blogger and author of  Delicious-Knowledge.com.

Photo by: Scott Payne