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Dr Russ Blog - Of Brine and Salt
Of Brine and Salt
Created on 12/3/2010

G sent in a  very good question - she asked about brining and whether it was a "no-no" because of the salt it adds to food.

I've not brined meat myself and so had to do some investigating. I found a couple of good articles on the subject and will share the web addresses with you in a moment.

In short, brining is a way to add moisture and flavor to meat. The process was widely used in the past to help preserve meat, but now is more commonly employed as a method of enhancing the taste and texture of foods.

Brining is also quite different from the process of marinating.

A properly brined meat is moist, juicy and flavorful. It is also, however, much higher in sodium / salt than unbrined meats.

What to do?

In my opinion brined meats can be enjoyed on occasion. Yes, the food will be higher in sodium, but that can be planned for, to some degree - perhaps by being sure to take in less sodium throughout the rest of the day. Still, brined meats will provide a high sodium load to those eating the food.

As an occasional splurge eating brined meat should be okay provided you are otherwise healthy. Even a single high sodium meal, however, can be problematic for people with certain chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure or kidney problems.

Choose to brine your meats on occasion, no more often than that. Use other methods of enhancing the moisture and taste of your meat dishes on a more regular basis.

I reviewed a number of articles on brining but found these two most interesting:

I want to thank G for sending in a good question that I had to research a little in order to provide a reasonable answer.

Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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