About 50% of American adults have high blood pressure, and only one in four people with high blood pressure has it under control. There is no single cause of high blood pressure; rather, health experts attribute high blood pressure to a combination of excess salt intake, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, and obesity. Managing your salt intake, however, may be one of the best things you can do for your heart.
We’ve been taught that salt is an essential seasoning. In fact, people often review food with comments such as, “It’s too salty,” or, “It needs more salt.” When people say these simple critiques of a dish, they actually mean that the food needs more or less acidity. There are many ways to enhance the flavor and increase the acidity level of a dish without using salt. People just get lazy and don’t want to experiment with other spices. Since salt can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, it’s worth knowing about salt alternatives.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, increases your risk of stroke and heart disease, two leading causes of death worldwide. High blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the resistance of blood flow in the arteries. If you have narrow arteries, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. This increases your blood pressure.
Nutritionists recommend using the following salt alternatives to keep sodium levels in check. Start cooking with them and let us know if they work for you.
10 Salt Alternatives
Lemon Juice Or Zest
Lemon, or any citrus fruit, brings a bright acidity to a dish. Both the juice and zest act similarly to salt in that they elevate the acidity and enhance the other flavors in the dish. You can finish a dish with a squeeze of lemon, you can marinate with lemon juice, or you can sauté with lemon juice. Adding lemon zest will give a slightly bitter note, so be aware of that.
The cheese-like flavor from nutritional yeast goes great in pasta sauces, popcorn, or even quinoa. It doesn’t contain dairy; rather it is deactivated yeast in the form of powder or flakes. It’s a much healthier alternative to salt because it contains vitamin B12, fiber, and protein.
The intense oniony flavor of chives brings out the inherent flavors of the other ingredients in whatever you’re cooking. They go great in salads, mashed potatoes, and sauces. If you use fresh chives, add them to the dish at the last minute or so before serving because heat destroys the flavor.
Did you know that coriander seeds actually blossom into cilantro? They offer a very lemony and floral essence when you grind them up and season your food with them. Whole coriander seeds are excellent for broths, curries, and soups. They also offer a wide range of antioxidants, including tocopherols, quercetin, and terpinene.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’ve ever made a salad dressing with apple cider vinegar, you know that you don’t need the addition of salt. The bright, acidic flavor makes it an excellent salt alternative, and it is incredibly versatile as well. Additionally, apple cider vinegar is great for improving alkaline levels and reducing cholesterol.
Coconut aminos is not completely free of sodium. It does contain about 90 milligrams (mg) of sodium per teaspoon, but soy sauce contains 280 mg of sodium per teaspoon. It offers the same saltiness of soy sauce with a subtle hint of sweetness. You can use it in sauces, dressings, stir-fries, and marinades.
Both dried dill and fresh dill offer a signature flavor that is similar to fennel or celery. It’s a great salt substitute that goes well with potatoes, cucumbers, or salad dressings. If you mix dill with lemon juice and olive oil, that goes great on wild caught fish.
Salt and pepper are the king and queen of seasonings, but you can rely on pepper to offer that subtly spicy savoriness to dishes, especially if you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake. You can season almost anything with pepper! What’s great about pepper is that the chemical compounds can help fight inflammation!
Similar to onion, garlic offers a pungent aroma and flavor to your food. It’s a staple ingredient in most cuisines, and for good reason! Garlic is rich in allium, which is a compound that can help to improve cognitive function, boost the immune system, and reduce blood pressure.
Ginger is like garlic in that it has a pungent flavor. If you add ginger to stir-fries, beverages, soups, sauces, dressings, or marinades, you may notice that you don’t need salt. Ginger is slightly bitter, but it has a sweet undertone. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce muscle soreness and improve joint health.