Salt is one of the most popular flavorings in the culinary world. It's added to nearly every recipe and dish to enhance the flavor. However, sprinkling everything you eat with salt isn't the greatest option for your health.
Salt is sodium, and although sodium is an essential mineral the body needs, regularly consuming high amounts of salt can lead to various health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and even stomach cancer. Sodium is particularly harmful for adults over 50, African Americans and people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
If you're looking to reduce your sodium intake, there are plenty of seasonings you can add to your dishes that will improve the flavor without harming your health.
The easiest way to reduce sodium in your diet is to turn to lite or low-sodium salt. There are many different brands of low-sodium salt to choose from, and they should look and taste the same as regular salt. The only difference is that instead of sodium as the main ingredient, these lite salts are made primarily of potassium, which can help lower blood sugar. However, these salts still have small amounts of sodium, so if you're looking to completely cut it out of your diet, this isn't the alternative to turn to.
In lieu of salt, try experimenting with different spices and seasonings in your recipes.
After salt and pepper, garlic is one of the most common spices, so using it in place of salt is a safe bet to use as a salt replacement. Garlic is delicious on anything from meats to to pasta dishes, and can be sprinkled generously for a striking flavor.
If you are foregoing salt and want to add a bit of heat to your recipe, try using cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika or black pepper. You can add these spices in place of salt to any recipe, or sprinkle them over a finished dish to add heat. However, because these spices can be quite hot, start with a small amount and add more until you reach your desired flavor.
Adding a drizzle of lemon juice, lime juice or flavored vinegar over a dish such as vegetables or a salad can take the flavor to the next level without that bothersome sodium. These flavorings will change the dish to make it more zesty, sweet or bitter, depending on which you choose.