There is a never-ending stream of advice with regards to how people should live a healthier lifestyle. Doctors, magazines and TV programmes alike are telling everybody to reduce their alcohol intake, quit smoking, eat five fruit and vegetables a day and exercise on a regular basis. Amongst the things that they tell people that they should be doing is reducing the amount of salt that is in their diets.
The Health Risks
Whilst some salt in your diet is essential. Too much salt is linked to many illnesses and diseases including heart disease and increasing the risk of having a stroke. It can also cause damage to the kidneys if eaten in large quantities. This is bad news for people who crave salt in their diets. However, there are healthier options for people who crave salt in their diet.
Reduced Sodium Salt
A kitchen essential for those who are trying to reduce their salt intake but enjoy the flavour that salt gives their food is reduced sodium salt. Using this when preparing food or adding it to food once it is cooked will still give you the flavour of salt, but will have a less harmful effect on your body. This is the first step in cutting back on salt in your food.
Avoid Pre-prepared Foods
Whenever possible, avoid buying pre-prepared foods as these are often high in salt. This applies to food in packets, frozen meals, and tinned food. If you prepare your meals yourself, then you have full control over how much salt goes into the dish. If you must buy ready meals, then choose ones that have reduced salt. This means that they still contain salt and will have the flavour, but there is a reduced amount in that product, thus making it a healthier option. Gravy granules are also available in reduced salt varieties. Gravy is generally a very salty product so this is a good alternative.
Choose Naturally Salty Ingredients
Another tip is to cook with food that has a naturally salty flavour and will not require you to add salt to the dish. Gammon and bacon are good options as they are naturally salty and will flavour any food that is cooked in the same pan. You can also save the stock from a gammon joint to add to soups or gravy giving them a meaty, salty flavour.
Use Alternative Flavours
Finally, if it is simply that you feel that food is bland without the addition of salt, then look for alternatives to use in your cooking to add extra taste and flavour to your meals. Experiment with different herbs and spices to find ones that tantalize your taste buds and use these instead. They are a much healthier option and you will greatly reduce the amount of salt in your diet by doing this.