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Healthy Alternatives to Salt in Your Diet

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 healthy diet (including  salt hidden in processed and packaged foods).

Daily salt limit for healthy diet (including salt hidden in processed and packaged foods).

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.

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.

How Much Salt is Healthy

Hidden Salt in Processed Foods

The daily recommend salt for a an adult, for a healthy, is just 6gms of salt (2.4g sodium); a level teaspoonful of salt is about 5gms. 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 33% of 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 cooked food served on the table it's hard not to exceed the recommended 6gms 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

Health Risks of Salt: Good Healthy Alternatives

  • 7 Health Risks of Eating Too Much Salt
    Too much salt in the diet, which is marked by high sodium content, can deeply impact almost all biochemical pathways in your body. As a standard, your dietary

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.

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

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Arthur Russ

Your Salty Feedback - And Comments on Good Food Flavouring

Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:

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

cmadden on December 23, 2012:

Some good ideas to help cut down on salt!

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on October 26, 2012:

Great lens:)

vinodkpillai lm on October 16, 2012:

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 on October 16, 2012:

Great ideas for a healthier way of eating and cooking.

Aster56 on September 17, 2012:

Nice lens and good info. Thanks

queenofduvetcover on September 11, 2012:

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.

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