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Healthy Living

By Sheryl Kraft

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I think I shook some readers up with my recent post on salt and all its possible health implications.

So, what if you love salt - does that mean your food has to be a bland, amorphous blob of stuff? No!

I've done the research for you (and for myself, of course, since I am salt-averse, after all) and here are some suggestions.

*Add balsamic vinegar. I am now eating a low-salt version of soup, and adding balsamic vinegar really wakes up all the flavors. It almost tastes salty. Honest

*Use cheese - but sparingly. I love sprinkling my salads with cheese - but almost all are high in salt. Instead, I use a
microplane(a small grater-like tool) and the most pungent cheese I can find. It falls softly atop whatever you are grating it over, like delicate snowflakes. A little goes a very long way.

*Use a "salt substitute" to shake things up. While at Pritikin, I found one in the gift shop and brought it home. It's by Natural Fine Foods, Inc. and called, appropriately, "Shake-It Table Blend." It contains onion, garlic, tomato granules, crushed red peppers, basil, oregano, orange peel, thyme, dill, mustard seed, parsley, lemon pepper, celery, cumin and coriander - all healthy spices on their own. I brought it with me last night to a restaurant and sprinkled it on my (unsalted) fish and it was surprisingly flavorful and more than adequate.

*When you cook, think about adding these spices to these foods to bring out their flavor and eliminate the need for salt (courtesy of the NIH):
Beef: Bay leaf, marjoram, nutmeg, onion, pepper, sage, thyme
Lamb: Curry powder, garlic, rosemary, mint
Pork: Garlic, onion, sage, pepper, oregano
Veal: Bay leaf, curry powder, ginger, marjoram, oregano
Chicken: Ginger, marjoram, oregano, paprika, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme

And for veggies:
Carrots: Cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary,sage
Corn: Cumin, curry powder, onion, paprika, parsley
Green Beans: Dill, curry powder, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme, green onions, pepper
Peas: Ginger, marjoram, onion, parsley, sage
Potatoes: Dill, garlic, onion, paprika, parsley, sage

Also, try Penzeys Spices which have a line of no-salt herb blends.

You may also want to read my colleague Kristen's post, "Less Salt, Longer Life?"

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