Salt and taste always seem to go hand in hand. When a meal is bland, it immediately comes to mind to grab the salt shaker for flavor. The problem, as we all know, is that salt is a flavor enhancer whose abuse leads to a series of very delicate dangers: hypertension problems and risk of heart disease or stroke.
While sodium in its proper measure just necessary for our body, the continued excess will not serve us any good. Among the goals of the World Health Organization, reducing daily sodium intake – up to 2g/day maximum – is a priority. Exceeding that amount, which simply amounts to a teaspoon, puts our health at risk.
But the salt shaker is not our only enemy. Although we do not believe it, 75% of the salt we consume is in processed and prepared foods. That’s really the main problem that we are with. When we prepare a veal or tuna steak, we can control how much salt we put in it, but when we eat a precooked food, the salt is determined by the manufacturer. Products such as pizzas, croquettes, sausages or frozen bread are the ones we should avoid.
Calculate and record the amount of sodium we consume is almost impossible task. Cutting the root with the salt would cause too much shock and would not be the right solution either. But there are ways to control it by modifying some habits: for that reason, we present ten tricks and alternatives so that you reduce the consumption of salt without that the taste suffers.
Tricks to reduce salt
1. Do it gradually
If taste is the main reason why it costs us to reduce sodium intake, then we need to educate to taste. If the salt is gradually reduced while introducing new flavor enhancers such as laurel, oregano, lime or lemon juice, onion and garlic, the transition will be almost imperceptible.
2. Set some limits
Sometimes we consume hyper-salty products when we only need something slightly salty. With healthier alternatives – for example in cereals – we will not miss the salt we are looking for and we will reduce the amount of sodium.
3. Leave the sauces aside
The condiments and sauces that we add to our dishes – especially when we eat outside the home – are often mixed with the food. Placing them aside allows you to better calculate your consumption by taking the right without dispensing with that flavor.
4. Mustard, better than ketchup
We cannot consider that all condiments are the same. Ketchup, barbecue sauce, soy sauce and salad dressings are full of sodium. Mustard, flavored oils and citrus juices, on the other hand, tend to be naturally healthier options. However, in this matter, there are big differences between brands and we can always find better and worse options for any product. Checking the label before buying can save us annoyances.
5. Learn to replace pickles
Cucumbers or pickles in pickle brine are addictive for those who like them, but they have a great disadvantage: they are full of salt. To prepare them in a homemade way controlling the quantities or to satisfy the desire to enjoy their flavor, consuming them fresh are effective alternatives to, at least, try from time to time.
6. Ask at restaurants
Unless clearly indicated or so requested, most restaurant foods are cooked with salt. In this case, we must differentiate between those restaurants and fast food places. It is possible that both salt consumption is higher than usual, but in the first we can always specify our preferences.
7. Buy unsalted butter
Normal butter contains a quantity of sodium that suits the recommended amount for each meal. But if you use butter in a dish to which you also add salt, it is advisable to do without one of them to reduce unnecessary extra amounts of sodium for our body.
8. Become a label reader
Sodium can be where you least expect it – as in ice cream or other packaged. It only takes a few seconds to read and know what we are buying, and you will quickly become familiar with healthier options.
9. Try nuts without salt
Peanuts, almonds, walnuts … they are delicious appetizers, but they are usually marketed in salt. To buy nuts without salt and to add later, if we want, a little on our own, is a much healthier option.
10. Avoid packaged bread
Salt is necessary for the bread to add strength to the dough, but the packaged varieties can have more than 100mg of sodium per slice. Buying at the bakery in your neighborhood listening to the baker’s advice to check how much salt they are using is much safer.