“Please pass the salt.” It’s a common dinnertime request. However, cutting back the amount you use can be very good for your health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), many experts advise no more than six grams or one teaspoon of table salt each day. In order to follow such a plan you will need to not only stop adding salt to food, but also carefully read the labels on everything that you buy.
You will be surprised at the number of foods that contain salt. Almost all canned vegetables have large amounts of salt added to help preserve freshness. You can find some of your favorite canned foods with no salt added at the grocery store. Other types of vegetables that are more difficult to find are best bought fresh in the produce section or frozen. When reading labels, also beware of sodium, which is a component of salt. The NHLBI notes that processed foods are responsible for most of the salt and sodium Americans eat.
Paying close attention to labels and making sure that what you buy is low in salt and sodium will make a big difference in the amount you eat everyday. If you are used to the flavor, you might find this to be hard. Your meals will probably taste very bland. To help with this problem, there are a few products that you can buy or make right in your home that will act as salt substitutes.
A salt substitute can be anything you use in place of salt. Companies such as Diamond Crystal Brands and
Morton Salt make salt substitutes that can be sprinkled right into any meal. These substitutes get most of their taste from potassium chloride, which is also a type of salt. Potassium chloride is considered a better alternative to regular table salt because it lacks sodium, which as mentioned above is a component of salt. Morton Salt Substitute, as well as other popular brands made from potassium chloride such as NoSalt, can be found at any grocery store. Diamond Crystal substitutes can be purchased by visiting the company web site at www. diamondcrystal.com or by contacting a salt substitute distributor such as D.C. Distributors, Inc. at 1-800-827- 6763. These products are not for everyone and can be harmful to people taking certain medications. Be sure to talk it over with your doctor before buying salt substitutes made from potassium chloride.
Spike, a salt-free seasoning made by Modern Products, Inc., mixes potassium with natural herbs and spices like toasted onion, ground dill, parsley flakes, and many more to give food flavor.
Mrs. Dash brand products offer 12 different seasoning blends without the potassium chloride. Each is made from 14 different natural herbs and spices and also contains no salt or sodium. Both Mrs. Dash and Spike can be purchased at the grocery store and are very inexpensive.
Many products designed to take the place of salt can be found naturally from the sea. Sea Seasonings, made by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables offer a couple of pleasant shake-on low sodium salt alternatives.
Dulse granules are low in sodium but big in “salty” taste. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the granules give food a seafood-like flavor when cooked with liquid and a tangy, salty taste when roasted or fried.
Kelp granules are also naturally low in sodium but add delicious flavor to just about anything.
Maine Coast Sea Vegetables also offer Kelp and Dulse along with other products such as Nori, another salt substitute from the sea, in a larger, leaf form. The leaves can be used to flavor anything from soups to sauces, dressings, dips, and more.
Maine Coast Sea Vegetable salt substitutes can be found at any health food or natural foods store. You can also buy them at a discount or order samples online at www.Seaveg.com.
Frontier Natural Products also sell a salt substitute made from kelp. Herbal Seasoning Blend, a mixture of herbs such as dill weed and marjoram along with kelp powder is a healthy way to liven up the taste. The powder can be ordered in one pound bags and is relatively inexpensive for such a long-lasting amount. To order visit www. frontiercoop.com or call 1-800-669-3275.
Remember, a salt substitute is anything that takes the place of salt. That does not always mean it has to give food a salty flavor. Salt and sodium alternatives can also be made right in your own home. By learning how to use herbs, spices and other ingredients you can make your meals taste just as flavorful.
For example, toasted sesame seeds, ginger, and cayenne can all be easily added to season vegetables or used as a dry rub for red meat. Squeezing lemon on fish or chicken is another easy way to bring out the flavor.
Make sure the spices you use to prepare food do not contain added salt. Reading labels is always a good idea even on dried spices. Some brands of garlic and onion powder as well as chili powder contain salt in the mixture. Pay special attention to the label if you are using a store-bought premade marinade as well.
To get the maximum amount of avor from herbs and spices, pay attention to the color and smell. Color should be rich and true and the odor should be strong and should not smell musty. Store herbs in a cool dry place to keep them fresh and always buy them in small quantities since they tend to lose flavor after time.
There are many recipe books that can offer you many more ideas for salt free marinades, dry rubs, and other recipes. The No-Salt Cookbook by David C.Anderson and Thomas D.Anderson, The American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook edited by Rodman D. Starke and Mary Winston, and Salt-Free Herb Cookery by Edith Stovel, are just a few of the many books available at your local bookstore or library.
A number of web sites also offer recipes and suggestions on which herbs and spices go best with certain foods. www.mrspice.com, www. cooks.com, and www.saltfreelife.com, are just a few of the many places you can go to learn more about cooking with and creating salt substitutes. For more information on low salt dieting visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov.