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More Herbs, Less Salt: 5 Heart-Healthy Recipes

Stop reaching for the salt shaker! Go easy on your sodium levels with these flavorful, healthy, herb-filled recipes.

Salt might be your go-to flavor enhancer, but it's definitely not the healthiest way to season a meal. If you're like most people, you surpass the American Heart Association's recommended 3,000 milligrams (a little more than a tablespoon) per day sodium limit.

Before you reach for the salt to flavor your chicken breast, pause to consider these high-protein recipes from Dave Ruel, "The Muscle Cook." They cut the carbs, fat, and unnecessary sodium without sacrificing taste. The addition of seasonings like thyme and mint add a nutrient-packed punch full of vitamins and antioxidants.

1. Greek Chicken

Turning up the flavor on chicken breast can make your meal sing. A palm-sized portion of grilled chicken provides roughly 25 grams of protein, while the addition of thyme and rosemary add flavor, sans salt. Rosemary, rich in folic acid and vitamins A and C, has been shown to ease muscle pain and indigestion. Just one tablespoon of this fragrant herb also delivers five percent of an adult's recommended daily amount of iron. Thyme—rich in B-complex vitamins (particularly B-6), and vitamins A, C, E and K—may help relieve gas, reduce fevers, and lower cholesterol.

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2. Provencal Chicken Strips

Are you searching for a high-protein recipe that's skimpy on carbs and fats? Try these simple, easy-to-make, downright delicious chicken strips flavored with a dash of parsley and rosemary. Parsley has strong anti-inflammatory properties and serves up more vitamin K than any other herb?just two tablespoons provide half of your recommended daily value. The kick of rosemary acts as an antioxidant.

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3. Rosemary Marinated Salmon

When it comes to eating fish, you can't go wrong with salmon. It is rich in omega-3 fats and high in EPA and DHA content—just four ounces contain more healthy fat than the average adult consumes in days. Salmon helps prevent chronic inflammation, promote cognitive function, and improve vision. Perhaps owing to the high levels of vitamin D and selenium, salmon also lowers cancer risks. So how do you take this superfood and turn it into an anabolicious delight? Why, with the magic of rosemary, of course. The herb's phytochemicals prevent disease, while its high folic acid content makes it a great liver detoxifier.

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4. Alaskan Omelet

Are you looking for the perfect breakfast recipe to kickstart your metabolism and burn some fat? Consider amplifying your morning eggs with a hint of basil. Revered as the "holy herb," basil's antibacterial properties have been used to treat everything from the common cold and fever to respiratory disorders, kidney stones, and bronchitis and sinus infections. Its high magnesium content also makes basil key to improved blood flow.

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5. Lebanese Beef Kebabs

Nothing says protein-packed finger food like meat on a skewer. And nothing's better than tender beef marinated with herbs and spices. Enter: Lebanese beef kebabs. Along with the usual favorites of thyme and parsley, which are high in potassium, iron, calcium, and manganese, this recipe also calls for two other great herbs: the bay leaf and mint. Bay leaf is known to provide resistance against different types of cancer and has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. In addition to promoting better digestion, bay leaf has been effective in controlling diabetes by enabling the body to process insulin efficiently. Mint, an excellent blood cleanser, relieves symptoms of cold and flu while inhibiting the growth of different types of bacteria and fungus.

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