Salt is one of those essential condiments that can be found in kitchens and homes everywhere. From bacon and eggs to popcorn and french fries, it adds a bit of crunch and zest to countless meals and recipes. As TIME magazine points out, while there is ongoing scientific debate, sodium in salt has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. For anyone hoping to reduce their overall salt intake, there are plenty of alternatives. Here is what you should pack your spice cabinet with instead.
Perhaps the next best thing to actual salt, potassium chloride offers the same taste without all the sodium. Potassium also has the added benefit of promoting lower blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke. However, those living with renal failure should consult their doctor before switching over. Often times, these people’s bodies can’t adequately process the potassium, which can cause subsequent kidney damage. Potassium chloride and sodium are sometimes combined to make “low-sodium” salt, according to the Cleveland Clinic
Another option for a healthy salt alternative is made from a less than likely source: seaweed. This oceanic algae is harvested from several sources, most notably cold water brown seaweed from off the coasts of the United Kingdom and Norway. Despite its purported similarities to salt, seaweed granules only have 3.5 percent sodium, where standard salt is closer to 40 percent, according to the Daily Mail. Granules are being implemented in a number of foods, including several varieties of sausages and cheese.
Dried garlic and onion
Perhaps the best way to rid any diet of salt is to try something new entirely. Both dried garlic and onion offer a similar kind of flavor experience, infusing foods with that sharp bite of savoriness, but adding health bonuses to boot. Garlic contains tons of nutrients, including vitamin C, selenium, calcium and fiber, while onions have shown potential as a cancer-fighting agent. However, be sure not to buy or use garlic or onion salts, as each contains especially high levels of sodium, according to Livestrong.com.
Depending upon how it’s actually used, vinegar can be a great alternative to salt. According to a study published in the Journal of Food Science, vinegar is capable of creating the same perception of saltiness as traditional sodium chloride. For meat dishes in need of a marinade, namely chicken or steak, fruit-flavored vinegar is something worth exploring. For instance, a pomegranate balsamic is both fruity and sweet while also offering the meat a bit of tart. For salty sauce, like barbecue and soy, a balsamic vinegar reduction is just as flavorful as salt. Simply simmer vinegar on low heat until it’s reduced by half.
No matter the choice, though, these alternatives all offer something new to countless recipes in your online cooking classes.