For decades I’ve been making spaghetti sauce for family and friends. This happened to be one of my favorite meals. In making the sauce I would taste it to make sure I had the right amount of each ingredient. After I began to educate myself on the ingredients in this tasty sauce, I realized it was loaded with sodium. Most of the time after eating the sauce I would gain a few pounds because of the high sodium. Excess salt contributes to water retention, and that was my problem. Of course, too much salt also makes it difficult to control high blood pressure, and contributes toward more heart risk factors.
I quickly changed my ways and my spaghetti recipe. I started avoiding foods high in salt, which meant reading labels on foods in the grocery store. This one act alone is an excellent way to naturally maintain a healthy blood pressure. So you may be asking how much salt should I get in my heart healthy diet? The recommendation is always to limit your salt intake as much as possible. About 2.8 grams a day for healthy individuals. But most people don’t realize that most of your salt intake doesn’t come from the salt shaker. Instead, the majority of that excess salt is hidden in processed foods, such as canned spaghetti, sauces, soups, and dill pickles.
If you like spaghetti as much as I do, I am going to share this recipe with you to try for your self. I hope you like it.
2 Tbsp. Organic extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium plum or cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. chopped basil
1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, crushed
dash of black pepper
Pour the olive oil into a pan and sauté garlic and onions for 30 to 60 seconds. Chop tomatoes in small cubes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the basil, oregano, and pepper, the sauce will keep for up to one week, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.
Makes 6 servings.
Now you can avoid salt in your heart healthy diet.
For more information on a heart healthy diet and recipes without added salt, contact Lethia Lee at Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office – 910-592-7161.
Leitha Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.