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Healthy Alternatives to Salt in Your Diet

Updated on July 30, 2017
Nathanville profile image

As a vegetarian I am always looking for innovative ways to make meals interesting and tasty as well as nutritious for the whole family.

Daily salt limit for a healthy diet.
Daily salt limit for a healthy diet.

Health Hazard of Salt and Healthy Alternatives

Too much salt in your food, be honest, we all eat too much salt. Take a look with me at these good healthy alternatives, have a taste and see for yourself. The health hazards of too much salt in our food is well known; most people may be aware that too much salt in our daily diet can raise blood pressure and lead to heart disease but fewer may be aware that too much salt in our diet can also cause or contribute to Hypertension, Osteoporosis, kidney disorders, dehydration and swelling, digestive diseases, electrolyte and hormone imbalances.

500 Low Sodium Recipes

500 Low Sodium Recipes: Lose the salt, not the flavor in meals the whole family will love
500 Low Sodium Recipes: Lose the salt, not the flavor in meals the whole family will love

A book packed with lots of tasty recipes to help you on the way to reducing salt in your diet and reduce your blood pressure for a healthier life.

 

All Things in Moderation

Too little is as Harmful as Too Much

Salt is important, we need it for a healthy diet but salt in excess is as dangerous as no salt at all; as my great-great grandfather frequently said in his writings "all things in moderation". It's not just salt, research has shown that a little alcohol e.g. one glass of red wine a day is healthier than no alcohol at all but alcohol in excess is unhealthy. It's all about getting the right balance, for another example one glass of pure orange juice doesn't make much difference to a healthy diet unless it's part of the so called 'five fruits a day' concept; whereas a litre (2 US pints or 1.75 UK pints) does have a significant health benefit. However drinking more than 1 litre of pure orange juice a day doesn't have any additional health benefits. Of course I'm taking about pure orange juice not orange drink or orange squash, neither of which have any great health benefit except for adding to the much needed daily water intake which we all need for healthy living; and I digress, so back to salt.

NoSalt Original Sodium-Free Salt Alternative 11 Ounce (Pack of 2)
NoSalt Original Sodium-Free Salt Alternative 11 Ounce (Pack of 2)

A pack of two, 11 oz. shakers, Sodium Chloride free; the ingredients are Potassium Chloride, Potassium Bitartrate, Adipic Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Mineral Oil and Fumaric Acid.

 

How Much Salt is Healthy

Hidden Salt in Processed Foods

The daily recommend salt for a healthy diet is just 2gms a day; a level teaspoon holds 5gms of salt. However all packaged and processed food contains salt (often too much unnecessarily), for example a typical slice of bread contains 0.5gms of salt so just four slices of bread provides all the salt you need for the day. Therefore even if we don't add any salt ourselves in our own cooking, or add salt to cook food served on the table it's hard not to exceed the recommended 2gms of daily salt.

Old habits die hard; in the days before refrigeration, and before fridges and freezers became common place in the home salt was a vital ingredient to food preservation during the harsh long winter months when fresh food was scarce. These days many food products are either freeze-dried (dehydrated), frozen, chilled in the fridge or canned where salt becomes superfluous for the preservation of food and manufacturers of processed and packaged food seem to add far too much salt not for food preservation but for taste only; an acquired taste which we as a species have become accustomed to but which can be changed, particularly if other healthier alternatives are chosen for flavouring.

I am given to understand that sea salt may be healthier than processed table salt but I haven't don't much research in this area yet so I can't write with any authority on this point at this time; although if you have any useful views of comments on this subject then please share it with us in the 'Salt Feedback' section on this article.

Marble Salt and Pepper pots
Marble Salt and Pepper pots

Flavouring with Herbs

Natural and Healthy substitute to salt for flavouring in cooking

Adding too much herbs can over flavour your food so do not overdo it as many herbs are well flavoured, a little pinch here and a sprig of herbs there; a few herb leaves can enhance the flavour of your cooking no-end without the need of salt.

Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference
Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference

A great reference cooks book to herbs and spices intended to help you to think creatively and experiment with your foods flavouring. Ideal if you are trying to find great alternative flavouring to salt in cooking. This book describing 60 herbs and 60 spices groups them by their aroma and taste and provides a step by step guide to their preparation.

 
Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning, 14.5 Ounce
Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning, 14.5 Ounce

This is a great seasoning mix that will prove to be a great salt substitute for all except truly entrenched saltaholics, although as stated in reviews, many saltaholics will appreciate this as a good substitute and reduce their natural intake of salt a little. The organic ingredients of this great salt substitute product includes onion, garlic, carrot, black pepper, red bell pepper, tomato granules, orange peel, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, basil, celery, lemon peel, oregano, organic savory mustard seed, cumin, marjoram, coriander, cayenne pepper, citric acid and rosemary.

 

Healthy Alternatives to Salt

Spice up Your Cooking With Herbs

I never use salt in cooking, our salt container gets such little use that it's has lasted for years and is now well and truly showing its age; as demonstrated in this picture. The only time we treat ourselves and indulge in a little extra salt is when we have chips (in American Fries). For fresh vegetables boiled (or steamed) we don't have anything; the flavour of the vegetable speaks for itself (especially if grown organically and picked fresh from the garden). And when we have guests they are none the wiser that there's no salt in the vegetables unless we tell them, and even then they don't go rushing for the salt pot but just sit back and enjoy the meal.

However I do add flavouring to mashed potatoes either when they are being boiled before mashing or during mashing. The various options I use for flavouring mashed potatoes include the following:-

1. Pepper

2. Add a spoonful of English Mustard when mashing the potatoes.

3. Add a pinch of dried spice or herb from the spice rack to taste, either during boiling or mashing. I don't have any specific favourites to recommend but if you do then please tell us about them and why they are your favourite for flavouring potatoes and other fresh vegetables.

4. Add finally chopped onion either when the potatoes are being boiled or when mashing them.

5. Add herbs freshly picked from the garden, can be added either when boiling the potatoes or when mashing them.

6. Add a sprig of mint fresh from the garden when boiling the potatoes.

7. Boil other root vegetables with the potatoes and mash them into the potatoes, swede is particularly good for this adds both taste and texture to the potato but any root vegetable works well e.g. carrots, turnips and parsnips etc.

8. And my favourite for mashed potatoes is to add several chopped leaves of spinach fresh from the garden when boiling the potatoes. Add the spinach when the potatoes are first put on to boil, and when cooked and drained mash the spinach in with the potatoes as they're mashed.

When I first grew spinach I looked for preparation and cooking of spinach and found all the recipes over complex so liking to keep things simple I just simply rinsed the spinach leaves under the tap (just like rinsing lettuce leaves), chopped them up just like you would with lettuce for a salad and placed them on top of the potatoes to boil and any left after draining the water are just mashed in when mashing the potatoes.

Our Salt pot which has lasted years because we do not use salt in cooking.
Our Salt pot which has lasted years because we do not use salt in cooking.

All Things in Moderation

As most people in the industrialised countries already exceed their daily recommend levels of salt from eating processed foods, will you continue to add salt in your cooking?

See results

Spices and Herbs and All Things Nice (Flavouring Your Food)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
English Mustard, great for flavouring potatoesSpinach, great for flavouring potatoesMint, a great herb for flavouring, ideal for omelettes, cooking potatoes and use in many other dishesMintSpices and Herbs
English Mustard, great for flavouring potatoes
English Mustard, great for flavouring potatoes
Spinach, great for flavouring potatoes
Spinach, great for flavouring potatoes
Mint, a great herb for flavouring, ideal for omelettes, cooking potatoes and use in many other dishes
Mint, a great herb for flavouring, ideal for omelettes, cooking potatoes and use in many other dishes
Mint
Mint
Spices and Herbs
Spices and Herbs

Your Salty Feedback - And Comments on Good Food Flavouring

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    • Nathanville profile image
      Author

      Arthur Russ 3 months ago from England

      Thank you all for your feedback, I hope that more awareness on the over use of salt does give food for thought.

    • profile image

      cmadden 4 years ago

      Some good ideas to help cut down on salt!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Great lens:)

    • vinodkpillai lm profile image

      vinodkpillai lm 4 years ago

      Great lens! It may seem to go against the grain to do away with salt but it is actually a very sensible idea.

    • Mel Otero profile image

      Mel Otero 4 years ago

      Great ideas for a healthier way of eating and cooking.

    • Aster56 profile image

      Aster56 5 years ago

      Nice lens and good info. Thanks

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      These are some great tips. I always try my best not to add too much salt to my food. I also try to stay clear of fast food and canned foods. Those are usually really high in sodium.