Salt is my favorite flavor enhancer. Unfortunately, I need to be careful with my salt intake when I cook, because heart issues run in my family.
Still, salt is necessary for the human body. More than just a flavor enhancer, salt helps to control fluid balance and the functioning of the muscles and the nerves. Like most things in the world, too much of it can be a bad thing.
Take A Healthy Recipe Tip From Julie Daniluk
In Z Living’s Healthy Gourmet, nutritionist Julie Daniluk shows us one of her favorite salt substitutions, which is a sodium/potassium chloride mixture. The beauty of potassium chloride is that it tastes like salt, but doesn’t raise blood pressure like sodium chloride. However, potassium chloride is not a cure-all for the salt obsessed, especially if you suffer from kidney disease and are taking certain types of medication for hypertension.
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The verdict: Potassium chloride is a viable option for if you are looking to cut sodium from your diet, but make sure you okay it with your doctor if you are taking medication for hypertension.
How Much Salt Does Your Body Actually Need?
The body only needs 500 milligrams per day—that’s a ¼ teaspoon. Yep, that’s all. The American Heart Association recommends people aim to eat NO MORE than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (not even a teaspoon). However, the AHA say that more than 75 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed, prepackaged and restaurant foods – not from adding salt at the table. A diet high in sodium can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis, kidney disease, and hypertension, or high blood pressure.
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Consider These Alternatives To Traditional Table Salt
Another salt alternative is using mineral or sea salts. Julie is a fan of mineral salts and will sneak them into her co-host chef Ezra TItle's spice cache as much as she can!
While mineral salts are still sodium chloride, the grains are coarser so you do not use as much.
Mineral salts, such as Himalayan Pink salt, also have trace minerals such as chromium, iron, calcium, and more that will help your body. The more color in the salt, the more minerals.
Just because it’s labeled sea salt, doesn’t mean it has minerals. All mineral salts will not be solid white. It will be off white, grey or pink, depending on where it was mined. If you’re experimenting with Himalayan Pink Salt and other mineral salt alternatives, just remember that they should be used in moderation.
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And if there’s one thing you do...
Even with salt substitutes, the best way to control your sodium intake is to limit processed foods.
Sodium is hidden in everyday, prepackaged foods—from that box of mac ‘n’ cheese to the frozen chicken breast that was on sale in the meat department!
With all the salt we get from eating out or by eating anything processed, adding salt at the table puts the average person’s sodium intake over the top. Therefore, using fresh ingredients in it’s most natural form will help you limit most of the excess sodium going into your body. Cooking with flavorful herbs and other spices can accent food and compliment flavors without having to add a bunch of salt. Detoxing your taste buds from the taste of salty foods will help you curb your need for over-salted foods.
Keeping your sodium intake in check is part of a heart healthy diet. If you need to add salt, consider these salt substitutes to satisfy your taste buds and keep you healthy.
Tell us in the comments: Which are your favorite mineral salts and how do you use them?