The idea of food without salt may seem bland to you, especially considering that we’d die without it. Research suggests otherwise, however.
The word “salt” or ᾰ̔́λς is derived from the Latin sāl and the Greek masculine noun háls (which is found just once in the New Testament at Mark 9:49), and influenced by the Olde English “sealt”.
Salt is a flavourant, a binder, a preservative, and a disinfectant that can kill bacteria (which can’t survive in high sodium environments).
Salt has many health benefits when “just enough” is used, but is not healthy at all when too much is used. If you’re looking for a way to cut back on the salt (or cut it out completely), these delicious suggestions may be just what you’re looking for as you explore the idea of food without salt.
What Is Salt?
A crystalline mineral because its atoms are held together in an ordered, three-dimensional internal structure that resembles a crystal (but externally does not), salt has long-endured a bad reputation for causing high blood pressure or heart disease, amongst others. The human body however cannot live with some form of salt intake, but the type of salt you consume has a lot to do with the affect it has on your health.
What Are The Different Types Of Salt?
In days gone by, sea salt was pretty much all we had on dinner tables to boost the flavour of foods – and so we used it.
Nowadays, salt is available in a variety of colours, tastes, and textures. Each of these also have nutritional values. The most common of salts that we see every day on shelves in stores or use at home for cooking includes:
- refined table salt
- Celtic sea salt
- kosher salt
- pink Himalayan salt
- coarse sea salt
- rock salt (Halite, which creates isometric crystals)
Salt affects our health in different ways, depending on the type of salt you use.
Why Do We Need Salt?
Salt (NaCl) is a compound element that’s made from Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl). Both elements are critical contributors to various body functions, such as:
- It regulates the amount of water in your cells, and surrounding the cells, too
- It transports nutrients to and from your cells
- It helps your brain function optimally
- It aids in contracting and relaxing muscles during movement
- It assists your nerves to transmit electrical impulses
- It supports adrenal function, which produces hormones to regulate metabolism, digestion, immune function, blood pressure, stress responses, and more
How Much Salt Do We Need Daily?
The human body needs about 500 mg of salt per day, where everyday salt products contain approximately 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Most people are probably already getting as much as 1,000 mg of sodium per day from the foods they eat, however your intake should not exceed more than 2,300 mg of salt per day.
Foods already contain sodium, and knowing the sodium content of the foods you regularly eat will not only assist you to make healthier food choices, but also help you as you learn how to enjoy your food without salt.
The top sources of sodium in modern diets include:
- breads (such as rolls, pizza, sandwiches, burritos, and tacos)
- processed meats, cold cuts and cured meats
- soups and sauces
- savory snacks (like chips, crackers, pretzels, and popcorn)
What Does Food Without Salt Taste Like?
Salt is something you train your body to agree with. For those who have never tasted salt from a bottle, the taste is alien and not at all nice, overpowering foods and over-seasoning them.
If (like the rest of us) you grew up with salt in and on your foods, you’ll agree that food without salt tastes bland and flavourless – wet cardboard at its best!
Salt is a personal choice that affects your health in many unforeseen ways. It makes good health sense to seek out new ways to flavour your food, without adding to your health woes in the process.
How Does Too Much Salt Affect Your Body?
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends cutting your salt intake to less than half a teaspoon daily to avoid the risks associated with high sodium intake.
Reductions in sodium usage would ultimately contribute towards preventing approximately 11 million cases of hypertension, almost 99,000 heart attacks and nearly 70,000 strokes, thereby saving close to 100,000 lives every year.
Associated health risks also include:
- accumulated sodium builds up in the kidneys
- increased fluid surrounding cells (water retention)
- an increase in the volume of blood in the bloodstream, making it harder for the heart, resulting in stiffened and pressurised blood vessels
- stiffened blood vessels could lead to a heart attack or stroke
- and salt is not good for bone health, either, and could result in calcium losses
Are other types of salt healthier than table salt?
Salt in all forms is derived by either harvesting it from a salt mine or by evaporating it from sea water. In 1924, iodine was added to refined table salt to manage the high accounts of goiter and hypothyroidism, which are both medical conditions that an iodine deficiency causes.
In refining table salt from underground mines, bear in mind that this salt is finely ground, processed to remove impurities (which may remove the goodness in the trace elements), and contains anticaking agents like calcium silicate.
Kosher salt does not typically contain iodine, but also makes use of anti-caking agents.
Coarse sea salt is evaporated from sea water, and contains trace minerals such as potassium, zinc, and iron – depending on where in the world it was harvested from. As coarse sea salt is most unprocessed, it may also contain trace amounts of lead and any other metals found in the ocean.
Himalayan pink salt crystals are widely used in foods, and are traditionally manufactured in Pakistan. The pink colouring is mainly due to small amounts of iron oxide from the region’s salt mines, and may also contain trace amounts of minerals such as calcium, potassium, or magnesium. The large crystals are due in part to the unprocessed and unrefined nature of the Himalayan salt.
Cooking or baking with large, coarse crystals is not recommended.
What Foods Already Contain Salt?
Vegetables and fruits, such as canned tomato juice contain very little sodium, as do canned vegetables advertising no or low salt content.
Grains such as those used in bread and baking are high in sodium, where an average muffin contains over 200 mg. Low-sodium grains include foods like barley, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat, and whole grain pasta – but are only low-sodium when not cooked with salt.
While both fresh and unprocessed or frozen poultry, meat, and fish contain little sodium, a 75g portion of salted mackerel contains a whopping 3,300+ mg of sodium!
If you’re looking for low sodium options in legumes, nuts, or seeds, remember that dried beans, lentils, unsalted nuts and seeds, and any 100% natural nut or seed butter will contain very little sodium. Almonds, cashews, and chickpeas even out at under 10mg of salt – if eaten unsalted.
In the dairy section, yogurts, Swiss cheese, and cottage cheese all made the bottom of the list for low-sodium counts. Feta cheese however, sits near the top of the list, but contains only slightly less than 500mg of sodium. This is still only half of the sodium count of processed cheddar cheeses.
Bone broth is a collagen-induced flavouring and soup base that could contain as much as 1,000 mg of sodium if you add salt. When you remove the salt from your bone broth, the sodium count drops below 50 mg per cup in a 250 ml serving.
Caesar salad dressings contain approximately ten times the amount of sodium (180 mg per tablespoon!) that low-sodium salad dressings do.
And standard table salt contains over 2,300 mg of sodium per teaspoon!
How Do You Flavour Food Without Salt?
With nearly 80% of the sodium in our diets derived from processed foods and breads, it helps to keep the salt shaker out of sight during dinner, and to use it sparingly while cooking. While food without salt may appear bland at first, for those who don’t actually see you’re cooking food without salt and using spices, herbs, or zest to flavour your foods, the taste of salt is not missed.
The American Diabetes Association recommends 7 ways to reduce salt intake, while not compromising on taste.
Still more ways to boost the flavour of your food without salt are by:
- adding citrus foods and zest
- using spices and herbs
- drizzling healthy oils over your meal
- splashing plain, apple, or Balsamic vinegar into your cooking pan
- including raw onions and leeks in your meals
- grinding or crushing raw garlic and raw ginger into your meals
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Once you become involved with a Correxiko product, we know you’ll stay loyal simply because there isn’t a product out there that can compete on our quality and effectiveness.
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