Sodium and Meat Rubs

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June is Men's Health Month. So, to the guys, this is all about you!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 men die from heart disease. Food choices can help reduce the risk of heart disease and complications such as heart attack and stroke.

One way to improve heart health is to reduce sodium. Table salt is made up of both sodium and chloride. While the words "sodium" and "salt" are often used interchangeable, sodium is a part of salt.

There are many ways to reduce sodium in our food choices, including the two below:

1. Choose water over high-sodium drinks. When reading nutrition labels, vegetable and tomato juices and sports drinks can be high in sodium. Fortunately, there are lower-sodium options for vegetable and tomato juices we can buy. While sports drinks have a place for high-sweat work and exercise, the average adult gets enough sodium from the diet, even when lost by sweat, and can choose water.
2. Use herbs and spices in cooking. Salt – which contains sodium – is commonly added to many prepared seasoning packets and marinades. Many of these flavors can be created with low-sodium pantry staples like herbs, spices, vinegars, and oil. This summer, try the Blackened BBQ Rub recipe below on your favorite meat.

Blackened BBQ Rub (2 tbsp)

This salt-free rub goes well with poultry and seafood, but try it on other meats you like to make.

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine all spices together. Move into a jar with a tight lid. Store in a dark, cool place at room temperature for up to 6 months.
2. When ready to use, lay desired cut of meat on a cutting board. Sprinkle meat with rub, turning so all sides are coated. If desired, massage rub into meat with clean hands. Cook meat per desired method, such as grill or stovetop.

Today's post was written by Caitlin Huth. Caitlin Huth, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator serving DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. She teaches nutrition- and food-based lessons around heart health, food safety, diabetes, and others. In all classes, she encourages trying new foods, gaining confidence in healthy eating, and getting back into our kitchens.