Learning you have high blood pressure can be difficult. You will need to make some major lifestyle changes including your diet. High blood pressure can cause heart attacks, increased rates of stroke, and premature deaths.
Once you start to pay attention, it is crazy to see how much sodium is in everything. Many Americans have a high salt diet without even realizing it.
Don't worry. There are plenty of ways to replace regular salt in your recipe with low sodium alternatives that will still add tons of flavor!
How Does Salt Impact Blood Pressure?
Salt is also known as sodium chloride. It makes your body retain water and creates extra pressure on your blood vessels. Excessive sodium intake over a long period of time can create high blood pressure and damage your internal organs.
The American Heart Association explains that 1 teaspoon of salt is equal to 2,300 mg of sodium. It is recommended that you consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. But, the average American is said to consume more than 3,400 mg daily. Even if you don’t have high blood pressure it may be time to put down the salt shaker.
While skipping the table salt can help to lower blood pressure, it is likely not enough to see a major change. One great way to fight back against high blood pressure is to avoid packaged and processed foods.
Fast food chains make it difficult to recognize the nutritional information of their meals. For example, in a Mcdonald's Big Breakfast with Hotcakes and a biscuit, you are consuming over 2,000 mg of sodium at the start of your day. Making your own food at home helps you better control what you are actually eating.
You may think you will miss the delicious flavors of your favorite foods, but a salt substitution doesn’t have to be all bad. To understand how to best substitute for salt, you should first learn why salt is used in cooking.
Why Is Salt Used in Cooking?
Salt has been used for centuries for food preservation. It works to preserve meats, dairy, and other foods. Salt will dehydrate the food item and inhibit bacterial growth. However, today salt is usually used as a seasoning.
Salt helps to enhance the flavor of food and can help to bring out other flavors as well. It is also used to help bind and texturize meats.
There are a wide variety of salt options. Some variations are garlic salt, sea salt, kosher salt, onion salt, and Himalayan salt. Unfortunately, there isn’t much variation in the nutritional factors or amount of sodium.
Cutting down on sodium levels doesn’t mean you can switch out to another type of salt. You will need to significantly reduce your overall salt intake by choosing a salt substitute.
While a salty flavor can seem superior to your taste buds, there are other good options. Selecting healthy alternatives can be beneficial in helping you avoid cardiovascular disease, and kidney problems, and lowers the risk of stroke.
Put down the traditional table salt and check out the best salt substitutions for high blood pressure.
Best Salt Substitute for High Blood Pressure
Choosing a salt substitute is a great way to take control of your health. Most salt substitute options are available in any grocery store. You may find that you even have many of these choices on hand.
Coconut aminos are often used as a low-sodium substitute for soy sauce. It is an excellent choice as a salt substitute, as well, for your low-sodium diet.
Coconut aminos taste very similar to soy sauce but with a touch of sweetness. It is a great replacement for salt in any Asian dish. Try it in something like Cauliflower Fried Rice for a delicious low carb and low sodium side dish.
As garlic salt is a popular variation of salt, garlic powder is an essential substitute. Garlic powder provides a great garlic flavor and is easy to use.
Garlic powder has 6 mg of sodium per tablespoon. One of the best ways to use garlic powder is in your tomato sauce. The garlic flavor helps to amplify other flavors, you will hardly miss basic salt.
To use garlic powder for garlic salt, use only ¼ of the amount of powder. Garlic salt contains significantly less garlic than garlic powder so you won’t want to overpower your dish. Garlic powder is a great choice when focusing on sodium reduction.
Onion powder can also be used as a salt substitute. A small amount of onion powder can provide a distinct flavor. Some suggest that onion powder has even more of an onion taste than an actual onion.
Onion powder contains 5 mg of sodium per tablespoon. Substitute onion powder for salt by using only half of the amount of onion powder. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt, use only ½ tablespoon of onion powder and adjust as needed.
Onion powder works well as a substitute in savory dishes. Try onion powder as part of your meat marinade for great flavor. It would also be a good substitute for more complex dishes such as Chicken Pot Pie.
Lemon juice is one of the best salt substitutes. It has only two milligrams of sodium in an entire cup.
Lemon juice will provide a fresh flavor that is sour and a bit tangy. It works as a great salt replacement for chicken, beef, vegetables, or even desserts. If you want to amp up the flavor even more, you can also add in a bit of lemon zest.
Start using lemon juice as a replacement for salt at a 1:1 ratio. You can increase the amount as needed.
Citrus fruits are a popular pick for salt substitutes, lime juice is no different. Lime juice has a great level of acidity and is the perfect choice for a low-sodium diet.
Lime juice has only 5 mg of sodium per cup. It works well on beef or as a low sodium substitute for salad dressings. Options such as Hidden Valley Ranch contain 350 mg of sodium per two tablespoons. If you are trying to eat less sodium, lime juice is a great choice.
Fresh herbs are another great option for your salt substitute. Herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary can really pack in the flavor without excess salt.
Fresh herbs are the best salt substitute for pasta sauces. If you take a quick look at your food labels, you will see that pasta sauce is often a main culprit for packing in excess sodium. In a half-cup portion of Ragu Old World Style Traditional Pasta Sauce, there is 480 mg of sodium.
Making your own pasta sauce with fresh herbs can significantly reduce the amount of sodium you are consuming.
Adding some heat is a great way to add flavor to any dish without much sodium content. Chili peppers can provide a variety of flavors such as spicy, smoky, and sweet. Even the pepper shaker at your favorite pizza place provides a solid level of heat with a little bit of earthy flavor. No matter which chili pepper you choose, you can truly transform a dish.
A half-cup of chopped chili peppers only has 7 mg of sodium. This is an excellent choice when compared to the over 56,000 mg of sodium that would be in a half cup of common salt.
Choose chili peppers as a salt substitution for providing flavor to tomato sauce, burritos, wraps, or sandwiches. Be sure to taste the peppers you choose before adding them in. It is likely you will want to add in a chili pepper replacement sparingly and add more as needed. Use exceptionally small amounts if you're using something like cayenne pepper.
Many people can’t imagine using salt without pepper. But, what about the other way around? Black pepper can be a great stand-alone choice for your salt substitute.
Black pepper provides a slight spiciness and bold flavor without the salt intake. ¼ cup of black pepper only has 11 mg of sodium. Choose black pepper as a salt substitute for soup, pasta, or salad at a 1:1 ratio.
Salt Substitute Summary
Salt is the most popular seasoning in the world. But, using too much salt can cause chronic kidney disease, increased risk of heart disease, and increased risk of stroke. High blood pressure is a global health concern. An estimated 26% of people worldwide face hypertension. The average person can help to combat potential blood pressure issues by consuming less salt.
Salt is an essential nutrient, but that doesn’t mean you can consume any amount of salt. As with all things, salt is best used in moderation. The use of salt substitutes can drastically improve your overall health.
No matter which salt substitute you try, you can create some great dishes. One of the best ways to maintain a lifestyle change is to create a healthier version of foods you love.
Limiting your salt intake doesn’t mean you can only eat unseasoned chicken and broccoli. Implementing salt substitutes can help you make better food choices, improve your blood pressure, and have better overall health.
Do you have any other tried and true substitution recommendations? Please let me know in the comments!