Are salt-substitutes really better than salt?

Has your doctor told you to cut back on salt because your blood pressure is too high Red Velvet for your weekly idol? ‘Oh no! Now my food will be tasteless! I might as well chew on a piece of cardboard.” Not true: You can still enjoy flavourful food without adding salt.

What are “salt substitutes”?

It’s important to understand that there is a difference between a product that is called a “salt substitute” and an ingredient that may be used instead of salt (e.g. garlic).

Items labelled as “salt substitutes” usually contain potassium chloride (as opposed to sodium chloride – table salt.)

Potassium is an essential mineral – which means your body needs it to function well. However, too much of it can cause problems for people who already have kidney conditions or heart disease. It can also influence the effect of your blood pressure medication.

So, if you cannot shake the salt habit, please speak to your doctor before using any type of salt alternative.

Healthier options

Why not use other ingredients instead of a “salt substitute”? There are so many different, delicious combinations that will never have you reaching for the salt again!

Here are some examples of spices and herbs that can help lower your blood pressure as well as give meals extra lip-smacking flavour.

Try Garlic (not garlic salt!) It relaxes your blood vessels, which allows blood to flow more easily. It’s a fabulous ingredient that can be added to almost anything you eat – meats, chicken, soups or poultry. Other spices that go well with these foods are onions, paprika (if you like to add a bit of heat to your meals) and mustard seeds.

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Try Ginger. It’s perfect to add to meats that you are using in a stir-fry. It can also be added to boost the flavour of marinades – no salt needed. Here is a beef stir-fry recipe that uses ginger to make it a mouth-watering dish.

Other ingredients that you can use as replacements to salt include:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

So, the bottom line is rather don’t use any products that are labelled as “salt substitutes”. It’s healthier for you to use other ingredients as a substitute to salt. By choosing these options, your blood pressure will be lowered and you can relax, knowing that your meals can still taste great.