Cut down your salt intake by including these healthy alternatives to flavour your foods


Salt helps enhance the flavour of a dish, which is why food without a pinch of salt feels extremely tasteless and bland. However, an excess of salt in our diet can lead to various health issues which, if left unchecked for an extended period of time, can lead to conditions like high blood pressure.

“Too much sodium in the diet can lead to sudden high blood pressure or heart disease and even stroke. It can also lead to loss of calcium. Excess sodium intake can result in water retention as our kidneys need to maintain a specific sodium to water ratio in our body. So, they hold on to extra water to compensate for the extra sodium eaten. This is the reason that we feel bloated or puffy after eating a meal with more sodium content than usual,” informed Sonia Bakshi, nutritionist and founder DtF.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), higher consumption of sodium (>2 grams/day, equivalent to 5 g salt/day) and insufficient potassium intake (less than 3.5 grams/day) contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. As we know, our body gets sodium from the salt we consume through various foods, so it is only wise to reduce salt intake which may help us avoid certain health conditions in the future.

“The salt that we consume should be iodised or ‘fortified’ with iodine which is essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child and optimizing people’s mental function in general,” WHO added.

As such, Lovneet Batra, a nutritionist, took to Instagram to suggest some salt alternatives that can add flavour to food without increasing the sodium levels in our bodies.

 

“Going overboard with salt affects more than just your taste buds and can lead to a host of serious health problems since salt is the #1 culprit of bloat and water retention besides being a major contributor to high blood pressure,” the nutritionist captioned her post.

Lovneet listed the following alternative to salt:

Lemon juice or zest: Lemon juice or its zest is an excellent salt substitute. As a source of acid, lemon juice acts similar to salt by bringing out the flavours of a dish. In fact, lemon zest contributes an even more potent citrus flavour.

Garlic: Most of garlic’s healthy properties are due to a compound called allicin, which is also responsible its distinct smell. Garlic is known to cause significant reductions in blood pressure in people with hypertension. Garlic boosts flavour without increasing sodium content.

Ground black pepper: With its subtle heat and strong flavour, it is versatile and can enhance the taste of almost any dish.  Plus, black pepper may decrease inflammation that is linked to chronic diseases like heart ailments and cancer.

Dill: Dill has a distinct lemony-sweet and slightly bitter flavour. Flavonoids, like those found in dill, have been shown to protect heart health due to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “Dill being high in potassium, helps keep blood pressure under control,” added Sonia.

Mango powder (amchur): Mango powder, also known as amchur, is one such spice that is loaded with antioxidants and it is a great alternative to salt. Amchur powder is versatile and can be added to soups, chutneys, curries, dals, and more. “Amchoor or mango powder is an awesome alternative to salt. It gives exactly the same flavor as salt, but without the side effects of salt,” informed Sonia.

“After eating a high sodium meal, try to have low salt in the next meal or eat potassium rich foods such as legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables,” suggested Sonia.

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