Anyone on a low-sodium diet has noticed the sudden lack of flavor in some of the foods they eat. Here’s how to bring the flavor back without the salt.
One of the immediate challenges for anyone pursuing a low-sodium diet is the sudden perception of blandness in the foods they eat. This is very apparent during the first couple of weeks. I know because I have been following a low-sodium diet for months.
On of my first considerations was a salt-substitute. Most salt substitutes are made of “Potassium Chloride” as opposed to sodium-chloride. In my experience, the taste of salt substitutes in not satisfying and they after-taste left something to be desired. It also has the potential to raise the potassium level in your blood-stream which may create problems in some people with kidney or liver conditions.
The best approach is natural and organic. That’s not to imply that salt or sodium chloride in not natural. It’s a chemical compound that originates in our oceans. Unfortunately, too much can lead to edema, high-blood pressure, an in acute cases pulmonary edema and congestive heart-failure. That’ the motivation for a low-sodium diet for most people and many herbs and spices can not only compensate for a lack of salt-flavor, but offer new taste possibilities and unique benefits.
The key thing is to use aromatic herbs and spices that pair with certain dishes. Examples of aromatic herbs include cilantro, dill, lovage, chives, basil, rosemary, lemon balm, and garlic chives. They’re the kind of hers that have a pronounced and specific aroma when crushed between your fingers.
What you want to do is align the herb with the dish in terms of flavor. Lemon balm provides a great accent to a fruit salad or a light, green salad while chives complement a deli-style salad like potato-salad or tuna salad. Conversely, chives and fruit aren’t complementary so experiment and think about the flavor you would like.
This also applies to spices. Spices with a distinct, signature flavor include onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, black pepper or my favorite, white pepper. You could add cinnamon or cinnamon sugar to the list as well as fennel seeds or fronds, paprika, curry, turmeric and if you like a little kick – cayenne pepper.
Here again, you want to think of flavors that complement the dish. On proteins like meat and fish, onion or garlic powder complement nicely, but I’ll take a pass on cinnamon sugar on steak. Then again, you may like it.