7 creative and healthier substitutes for salt

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7 creative and healthier substitutes for salt

One of the most common ingredients in many foods is sodium chloride or salt.  It’s used for flavoring and as a preservative and pops up in all kinds of foods least expected.  Read the nutrition facts label looking at the milligrams of sodium (choose foods with less than 150 milligrams of sodium per serving) and discover how prevalent it is - frozen meals, breads, canned and boxed goods - it seems like it’s everywhere. 

The American Heart Association wants everyone to limit their sodium intake to control high blood pressure or hypertension, a chronic condition affecting around 29% or 70 million American adults.  Good advice but when sodium is ubiquitous within our food supply, that’s easier said than done. However, the “silent killer” of high blood pressure has a way of sneaking up on people doing major damage to artery walls and organs like the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.  This puts a person at risk for a heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.

We may not always be able to control the amount of sodium used within packaged foods, but we do have control over how we choose to season foods we prepare at home. Luckily, there are other alternatives to salt called for in a recipe.  Each time you replace salt with a substitute, you are doing your blood pressure a huge favor in keeping it under control. Here are 7 salt substitute ideas adding a distinctive and tasty punch of flavor to your meals and even better, vastly reduce how much sodium you consume:

1. Citrus fruits

Talk about the power to transform a meal and with no salt added – whether freshly squeezed juice or grated zest, lemons or limes have a unique and refreshing ability to bring out the best in chicken, fish, seafood, and salads.  Lemon or lime zest can also be used in summery pasta dishes, citrus pesto or as part of a marinade for meats. 

2. Rosemary and thyme

The duos of rosemary and thyme have long been paired to add to roasted potatoes or veggies relying on their fragrant infusion into the dish.  This delectable pair of rosemary’s pine scent and thyme’s sweeter and minty flavor can be used as flavorful additions marinades, stews, soups, fish, lamb, and poultry.

3. Paprika

An extremely versatile spice, paprika is an excellent salt substitute and most likely found in everyone’s spice rack.  Known as Hungary’s spice, simply replace salt by tossing paprika onto omelets and on top of deviled eggs, pasta, meat dishes, potatoes, roasted nuts, and even on popcorn. 

4. Vinegar

This is where a person can get very creative by using all the many different varieties of vinegar.  Whether you use red or white wine, or balsamic vinegar, you will add quite the shot of flavor without added salt in dishes such as salads, roasted vegetables, fish, and coleslaw.  Vinegars can also be used to help tenderize meat due to its high acidity.

5. Basil

Commonly used in Italian dishes, basil is known for its versatility in countless meals.  Its minty, peppery fragrance and taste can totally transform a meal from adding a few leaves to a Margherita pizza, for making pesto, to topping slices of tomatoes and mozzarella with no salt needed.

6. Cayenne Pepper

If enjoy your food on the spicy side than cayenne pepper will be your go to salt substitute.  Cayenne pepper is such a flavor booster with a kick of heat that the absence of salt won’t even be noticed.  This fiery spice can be a perfect addition to toss into chili and soups or add to meat dishes, roasted vegetables and nuts as well. 

7. Onions

Onions are one of the most used foods in any good cooks’ recipe repertoire.  Full of flavor, they can be tossed into practically any recipe to bring out the best essence it has to offer.  From potatoes, to meat dishes to stir fries to tuna salads, onions can do it all without salts help.