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Low Sodium Barbecue Sauce
And the verdict is....
Borderline can be an imaginary geo-political divide or something that does not quite meet expectations. Or, it can be the pronouncement from your physician about your blood pressure.
My husband's BP is now "borderline". And so I am striving to find ways to reduce the sodium in our diets. I am blessed to be at home (so happy to be retired) and have the time to prepare most of our meals from scratch. But occasionally there is the need for a prepared food--a condiment perhaps.
There are low sodium soups, low sodium catsup, and even reduced sodium soy sauce. But I have not been able to find a low-sodium barbeque sauce. So I set out to create my own.
Why a low-sodium diet is important
Most of us consume too much sodium—a dangerous habit which can effect blood pressure. The human body needs a small amount of sodium to maintain a proper balance of body fluids, and help internal organs work properly. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day—that’s equal to about 1 tsp. of salt. However, most Americans eat on average about 3,300 mg of sodium per day.
How does too much sodium affect our bodies?
Sodium attracts water, and so a diet high in sodium will draw more water into the bloodstream—that means that blood volume is increased and thus blood pressure is increased. That increase in blood pressure adds to the work the heart has to do, it damages blood vessels, and thus increases the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, or stroke. A low-sodium diet can decrease your risk of developing these serious health problems.
According to the Food and Drug Administration 1 in 3 U.S. adults (75 million) are affected by high blood pressure. An additional 78 percent have elevated blood pressure and are at risk of developing high blood pressure in the future.
Salt and sodium--are they the same thing?
The words “salt” and “sodium” do not mean the same thing, but they are often used interchangeably. Salt, also known by its chemical name sodium chloride, is a crystal-like compound that is abundant in nature and is used to flavor and preserve food. Sodium is one of the chemical elements found in salt.
What can you do to reduce your risk?
Read the labels on the food products you purchase, and read them carefully. Not only is the amount of sodium important, but notice how many servings are listed. A can of soup might state that the sodium level is 20 percent, but if there are two servings in one can, and you consume the entire can, you have now eaten 40 percent of your daily allowance for sodium. Did you add some saltine crackers to that soup? One serving of Premium saltine crackers contributes 8 percent to your daily allowance for sodium.
- Your should reduce your daily intake to 1,500 mg if you are in any of these high-risk groups:
- Keep in mind that sodium can be hiding in foods that don't "taste" salty. Dill pickles and soy sauce are obviously high in sodium. But did you know that breads contain sodium; many of us eat bread with every meal--every slice adds up.
- Prepare your own food when you can rather than relying on canned or frozen meals or (worse yet) take-out.
- Don't add salt during cooking and don't have a salt shaker at the table.
- "My food tastes bland" you say. No, it tastes like food--it just doesn't taste like salt. If you are still not satisfied and want to enhance the flavor of your food, try fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a sprinkle of vinegar.
- Buy fresh whenever possible--fresh produce, fresh meat rather than canned, smoked, or processed. If you must use canned vegetables, rinse them first.
- For snacks choose unsalted nuts, crackers, and chips or, better yet, have an apple or some raw vegetables. You'll still get the pleasure of that satisfying "crunch" without all of the sodium and fat.
Ingredients for Low Sodium Barbeque Sauce
- 1 cup low sodium tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup molasses
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. onion powder
- 1/8 tsp. chili powder
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in deep (high-sided) saucepan.
- Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the heat as low as possible and stir often so that it does not scorch.
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© 2014 Linda Lum