Salt is an essential part of your diet that helps your body balance fluids and stay properly hydrated. However, most Americans consume far too much salt, which can be damaging to long-term health and cause bloating and discomfort in the short-term. The good news is that it’s possible to cut the salt in your diet without constantly eating bland, flavorless foods.
For some people who have been prescribed a very low sodium diet, salt substitutes containing potassium may be recommended, but these are not recommended for everyone. Instead, try experimenting with these strategies to cut the need for salt in your meals:
Go deeper in the spice cabinet.
When you want to cut out salt, it’s helpful to stock up your spice rack with some other bright and fresh flavors. Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, and cumin are a few spices to keep on hand and add a pinch of to your favorite recipes. Spicy foods can also help you reduce salt cravings. Another option is to head to the bulk section and stock up on nutritional yeast, which is a beloved vegan cheese alternative that can round out many different dishes.
Cut salt in favor of acid.
Acid interacts with your taste buds similarly to salt, so it’s a great health-conscious way to flavor your food. White vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar are all great choices.
Add lots of fresh flavors.
Increasing aromatics means increasing flavor, so don’t shy away from herbs and garlic—either fresh or granulated. You can also add a depth of flavor to your foods with different cooking methods. For example, slow roasting can create a richer flavor in veggies that reduces the need for added salt. Smoking foods can also bump up the flavor without adding ingredients.
If you’re not sure what you should be including in your diet, talking to a doctor can get you on the right track. Skip the wait at the doctor’s office and see a medical provider right away using MeMD.