Meet your taste buds. You have about 10,000, mostly concentrated on the top of your tongue. They can detect five basic tastes: sweet, sour and salty, bitter plus the more recently recognised umami. Your taste buds play a key role in helping you enjoy or stay away from certain foods which can be a problem when it comes to very fatty, sugary or salty foods. We've all heard of the “sweet tooth”, but some people have a “salty tooth” tooth as well. In fact, studies show that people with high blood pressure tend to have a preference for saltier foods, which is concerning as high salt intake is a known risk factor for high blood pressure and stroke. You don't have to follow your tastebuds though! You can train them to help you eat more healthily. Here's how.
1. Start by eliminating sweet and salty foods. Eliminate sweet and salty foods completely for a month or more to reset the palate and help you develop a new baseline for those flavors. This enables your tastebuds to adjust & reverse their tolerance.
2. Practice stress-reducing activities. Stress often leads to cravings for sweet or salty foods, so practice activities such as meditation that lower stress so you're less likely to reach for foods you're trying to avoid!
3. Try new, healthy foods several times and season them with flavors you like. Research shows pairing foods with familiar flavors repeatedly can increase your preference for those foods.
4. Practice mindful eating. Not only is mindful eating a stress-reducing practice, but it can also intensify the flavors and ultimately feel more satisfying eating a wholesome food than eating the unhealthy food you crave.
OVERCOMING SALT CRAVINGS:
1. Swap salt for herbs, citrus flavors & garlic. Grate lemon zest over seafood and bake fish or meat with fresh or dried herbs and garlic. Put rosemary and thyme on roasted potatoes instead of salt. Experiment! There are so many herbs to enjoy!
2. Eliminate processed foods, including deli meats and frozen meals. The most important part of overcoming a salt addiction is to shift to a diet that’s entirely made up of whole foods. When it comes to Top Chef's frozen meals, we use the highest quality ingredients with no preservatives whatsoever added, and we use sodium or salt very sparingly in our kitchen. remove salt if you are trying to watch your sodium intake.
3. Give your food a kick! Chili and other spices can help add a burst of flavor. Add a pinch to homemade pasta sauces, soups and stews. Or simply add Siracha to everything – that's always an excellent idea.
4. Gradually taper the amount of added salt you use. Make the change slowly and let your tastebuds get acclimated.
5. Salt alternatives. There are some really great salt alternatives out there – like Ms. Dash – that are so good you won't even realize you're going salt-free!
Kicking the salt habit won't be as bad as you think – researchers found that within four to eight weeks peoples' taste buds were satisfied with 40-50 per cent less salt – and you'll be much healthier in the long run. You can do it! And if you need help, order some Top Chef meals for delicious, whole food based, healthy meals that come with little to no salt.
Questions? Email us or call us at (800) 616-8044!