Salt has the power to add a big punch of flavor, to preserve foods so they last longer, and to season almost anything, but it can also be very hurtful to your body. Most Americans consume too much salt on a daily basis. A healthy diet requires a pinch of salt in your food, or about 180 mg-500mg per day. Restaurant and store bought foods tend to have much more than just a pinch of salt. Most people end up consuming about 3,436mg. While it might make your food taste better, too much sodium can have a negative effect on your body. A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, osteoporosis or poor bone development, kidney stones or renal failure, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, breathing difficulties, ulcers and even certain types of cancer. People who have been diagnosed with heart disease or kidney failure are always instructed by their doctors to shift gears into a low-sodium diet. If you feel the need to add salt-like flavor to your food, consider using Nu-Salt, a sodium-free salt substitute. What can you do about it? Cut down on sodium as much as possible. Start off by avoiding eating frozen meals, fast foods or pre-packaged meals. These tend to have the most salt intake because they are processed so that they can be preserved for weeks on the shelves of grocery stores. You can also start paying attention to nutrition labels to determine if its contents has a healthy amount of sodium. And when cooking at home, don’t add salt if it’s not needed, chances are, many of the ingredients will already have sodium. To get started, we found a delicious low-sodium recipe for you to try out:
Makes 8 Servings
Ready in 35 Minutes
1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta (for extra health boost opt for whole wheat pasta!) 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into cubes salt and pepper to taste garlic powder to taste 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
- Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.
- Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.
- Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.