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Food for Thought: Cut the Salt, Add the Spice

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Many people have been trying to cut the extra salt out of their diet for years, unsuccessfully. Fortunately, experts are now saying that the best way to cut the salt is to add the spice – hot spice that is!

A recent study shows that adding capsaicin – the spicy ingredient in chili peppers – can help to reduce your sodium intake.

During the study, researchers looked at the “brain scans of more than 600 people and discovered that the areas that responded to spicy and salty foods overlap—and eating spicy foods reduces salt cravings.”

Related information was just released that capsaicin is also a vasodilator—which helps lower blood pressure.

But experts say that you do not have to just eat hot peppers to reap the benefits of capsaicin. The blood pressure-lowering ingredient is found in many spices, like ground pepper, cayenne and paprika.

The study shows that “anyone with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or kidney problems should limit their sodium consumption to 1,500 mg daily.” If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, excess sodium is deadly. For those without these conditions, you should aim for around 2,300 mg of sodium daily.

Substituting peppers for salt in your dishes can help you cut back on sodium while infusing your food with delicious flavor… and spice!