The Best Natural Salt Substitutes, According To Nutritionists

Updated on October 19th, 2020
Salt Alternatives

Salt is one of the most prevalent spices used worldwide. It adds the right amount of punch that is required to enhance the flavor of a dish. Moreover, it enriches the primary taste and aroma of other spices used. For most of us, salt is an essential spice that we use in our food.

Without it, no matter how many add-ons we add to a dish, it just doesn’t taste fine [1].

Even though salt is much required in our diet, overindulgence may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension [2].

Also, excessive consumption of salt has been associated with high blood pressure and various other health problems. Due to this, health experts worldwide recommend less food intake that has high salt content. Fast foods, specifically, contain salt in excessive quantity and hence should be skipped.

Are salt substitutes safe?

Salt substitutes can be a safe alternative for some individuals because potassium is an essential mineral that helps lower blood pressure.

However, salt substitutes can be dangerous when you have conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, or diabetes. So do not take salt substitutes unless a physician approves them [3]

Healthy salt alternatives:

Several spices, herbs, and other ingredients add a burst of flavor to your dishes. Here is a look at some flavourful salt substitutes.

1. Mint

Mint Taste: A refreshing and bright herb that works in savory and sweet dishes.

Preparation: Use fresh leaves if possible. Mint is convenient to grow in the garden (keep in a pot as it will spread) or on the windowsill.

Uses: Great on pasta, in salads, or couscous. It’s tasty with peas, carrots, or broad beans.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary Taste: An aromatic herb with a pine-like fragrance. Use sparingly; it can overpower other flavors.

Preparation: Roast whole sprigs with root vegetables (parsnip, carrot, sweet potato). If you use dried rosemary, crush it first.

Uses: Add to grilled or roast meats, homemade pizza, bread,  beans, tomato sauce, egg dishes, or potatoes. You can consider growing some rosemary; it’s a hardy plant and does well outside.

3. Nutmeg

Nutmeg Taste: Pungent and sweet flavor. Works well in baked foods with cloves and cinnamon.

Preparation: Freshly grated nutmeg has a more extraordinary flavor than the ground.

Uses: Add nutmeg with black pepper to home-prepared cheese and white sauces. It also adds warmth and flavor to homemade potato, cabbage, and cauliflower soups.

[Read: Health Benefits of Nutmeg]

4. Basil

Basil Taste: Peppery and sweet

Preparation: Fresh basil retains more aroma and flavor than dried. Basil plants generally grow well on windowsills. As you take away the leaves, more will grow.

Uses: Perfect for marinades, pesto,  sauces, dressings, sandwiches, salads, and soups. Basil is generally used in Mediterranean cooking in pizzas, tomato-based pasta sauces,  and bolognese. Use Thai, lemon, and holy basil in Thai and South Asian dishes.

[Read: Health Benefits of Basil]

5. Cardamon

Cardamom Taste: An aromatic, warm spice.

Preparation: Include whole cardamom pods to your dishes or use the seeds inside, either ground or whole.

Uses: Commonly added to Asian curry pastes and spice mixes. Cardamom also works well in sweetbreads and baked goods, with cinnamon and cloves, to taste Scandinavia.

[Read: Impressive Cardamom Benefits]

6. Cayenne/Chilli

Chilli Taste: Chilis differ quite considerably in strength, so add a little initially and taste your dish. Cayenne is a particular kind of chili.

Preparation: Chilli can be purchased whole (dried or fresh), as powder, dried flakes, or hot sauce. Chilli sauce can be rich in salt (or sugar concerning sweet chili sauce), so stick to flakes, powder, or whole chilies.

Uses: It works fine in most dishes, including seafood or vegetable stews or vegetable soup. Add a pinch of chili with a little mustard to spice up a cheese sauce, helping you use little cheese. Combine with coriander seeds, cumin, and turmeric to give foods an Indian flavor.

[Read: Unheard Benefits of Cayenne Pepper]

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Taste: Mostly used in sweet treats like apple crumble and cake, but works with savory dishes too.

Preparation: Sold as cinnamon sticks (add or grate whole to dishes like stews or curries) or ground.

Uses: Cinnamon is an essential spice in Middle Eastern and Turkish cooking, where it is used to flavor lamb and chicken dishes. Use it to deepen the flavor of curries, cottage pie, casseroles, tagines, roast vegetables, bolognese sauce, or stewed fruit.

[Read: How Cinnamon Can Spice up Your Health]

8. Chives

Chives Taste: Onion-like but less powerful

Preparation: Using a clean pair of scissors, snip the stems into food. Add to hot dishes at the final minute, as heat kills its flavor.

Uses: Great in casseroles, mashed potato, baked potatoes, salads, low-fat cream cheese, poultry and fish. Chive flowers look good and are edible too.

9. Coriander

Coriander Taste: Coriander leaves have a distinct lemony and earthy flavor, while coriander seeds have a spicy, warm, citrus flavor when crushed.

Preparation: Use raw coriander leaves or add to foods at the last minute of cooking. Coriander seeds are generally used in Indian dishes. Fry them in a dry pan and incorporate them crushed or whole.

Uses: Add coriander leaves to soups (e.g., coriander and carrot soup), salads,  salsas, curries, and fish and chicken dishes, or combine it with lime and chili in stir-fries.

10. Dill

Dill Taste: Dill has a strong taste, often compared to star anise, fennel, and celery.

Preparation: Use fresh rather than dried if you can – discard the stem and use the leaves only.

Uses: Popular in Eastern European, Russian, Greek, and Scandinavian cooking, dill is a welcome addition to low-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, seafood, omelets, potato salad, steak,  and cucumber dishes. Try adding dill to rice and broad beans and serve with koftas (prepared from lean minced meat), as found in Iranian cooking.

11. Cumin

Cumin Taste: Smokey and earthy

Preparation: Fresh cumin seeds, dry roasted and then ground, offer a better flavor than cumin powder.

Uses: After black pepper, cumin is the most-used spice globally. It is flavorsome without excessive spiciness. Cumin blends well with any dish but particularly with game, lamb, beans, and rice. Combine with chili and oregano for a Mexican twist or with coriander, cardamom, and turmeric for an Indian flavor.

12. Ginger

Ginger Taste: Lemony, peppery, and slightly sweet, with a sharp aroma.

Preparation: Buy fresh or ground (as a ginger root, which can then be grated or chopped).

Uses: Ginger enhances savory and sweet dishes. Fresh ginger can be grated into curries and stir-fries during cooking or sprinkled over meat before barbecuing or baking. It may also be added to rice or used in salad dressings. Ground ginger blends well with stewed fruits.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re trying to cut down on sodium or just looking to try something new, these herbs, spices, and condiments are a great way to add flavor to any food.

We hope these handy tips for easily-available natural salt substitutes will inspire you to reprogram your taste buds and begin cooking with less salt and more flavor and to pay closer attention to the foods you are eating. 

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