More Herbs, Less Salt Day (August 29th)

A common ingredient in almost 99% of all households is salt, which is cherished for its role in flavoring food. Contrarily, high salt consumption has been linked with a multitude of health issues, such as bloating, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and even kidney dysfunction. The risk of health issues is correlated with increased daily consumption rates of more than 1500 milligrams (American Heart Association, 2022). Swapping your seasoning salt and table salt for fresh herbs is an embraced solution by health professionals to decrease daily sodium intake while still increasing the flavor of food.

Herb-based diets can play a major role in reducing sodium intake to less than 1500 milligrams per day as recommended by the American Heart Association. In addition to adding flavor, herbs like basil offer health benefits such as treating bacteria or reducing the prevalence of toxins in the body. Others, like Thyme, are associated with improved digestion and the mitigation of respiratory problems and skin disorders (Nutrition Today, 2016). While consuming rosemary will accentuate your memory while protecting eyesight, herbs like cilantro contain numerous minerals such as calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, K, and E (Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L., 2017; Nutritional Value, 2022).

With so many fresh herbs available today, it can be difficult to know which herbs to pair with meats and vegetables. The good news is that you can pair them anyway you want! However, if you are looking for suggestions, here are some general recommendations from the American Heart Association:


  • Pair with: Tomato sauce (no added salt), pastas, salads, low sodium salad dressings, low-sodium pizza, low-sodium soups, summer vegetables, eggs, chicken, and fish dishes
  • Simple Dish: Layer slices of tomato, low-fat, low sodium mozzarella, and basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and a few shakes of black pepper.


  • Pair with: Beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, avocados, rice, salads, low-sodium salad dressings, and low-sodium, low-fat yogurt sauce
  • Simple Dish: Mix together black beans, corn, chopped red bell pepper, chopped jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.


  • Pair with: Fruit cups, carrots, cucumbers, salads, peas, lamb, beans, desserts, unsweetened iced tea, water, and low-fat yogurt with no added sugar
  • Simple Dish: Chop up watermelon and cantaloupe. Drizzle the fruit with a mixture of mint and low-fat vanilla yogurt.


  • Pair with: Tomatoes, no-added-salt tomato sauce, zucchini, potatoes, peppers, beans, mushrooms, eggs, low-sodium soups, salad, low-sodium pizza, pastas, oily fish, and poultry
  • Simple Dish: Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and mint. Pour over cooked red potatoes.


  • Pair with: Chicken, egg dishes, fish, seafood, low-sodium soups, salads, potatoes, pasta, tomatoes, no-salt-added tomato sauce, carrots, and eggplant.
  • Simple Dish: Whisk together olive oil with lemon juice and parsley, mint, garlic, and chives. Serve over broiled white fish like cod or flounder.


  • Pair with: Roasted root vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, oily fish, shrimp, pears, apples, fiber-rich whole grain breads, and low-sodium soups
  • Simple Dish: Use sprigs of rosemary as skewers to grill shrimp.


  • Pair with: Chicken, carrots, corn, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, and low-sodium soups, chowders, and stews
  • Simple Dish: Add chopped tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and thyme to a roasting pan. Slow roast for one hour at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for a delicious chunky tomato topping for whole grain pasta.


Tomato Basil Pasta:


2 cups of tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1/4 cup of fresh basil

½ teaspoon of pepper

6 ounces of whole wheat pasta


Combine the tomatoes, pepper, garlic, basil, and oil in a medium bowl, then cook the pasta. After that, drain the pasta and add the tomato mixture from the bowl.

Written by: Williams, A. and Shephard, E.


How much sodium should I eat per day? (2022, July 22). Retrieved December 15, 2022, from

Singletary, K. (n.d.). Thyme: History, applications, and overview of potential health benefits: Nutrition Today. LWW. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from,_applications,_and_overview_of.10.aspx

Gilbert, S. P., & Owens, M. (2017, November 13). Effects of rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from

Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw. Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw nutrition facts and analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 15, 2022, from

How to use fresh herbs. (2022, July 20). Retrieved December 17, 2022, from


Elizabeth Shephard, Family and Consumer Science Agent with UF/IFAS Brevard County
Posted: August 29, 2023

Category: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Food, Food And Nutrition, Food Safety, Health, Herbs, Nutrition, Salt, Sodium

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