Sat | Aug 18, 2018

5 alternatives when you have to forgo salt

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM

All of your favourite foods wouldn't be anywhere near as good without the most humble of seasonings, salt. Salt not only adds flavour to the food, but in limited quantities is needed by the body. Salt is a source of sodium and chloride, both essential nutrients that are not produced by the human body. This means that you need a little salt in your diet, however most people regularly exceed the daily recommended allowance.

Excess consumption of salt can cause a lot of serious health problems for people with cardiovascular issues and has been known to cause clogged arteries, increase blood pressure and even osteoporosis.

If you are looking to cut down on your salt intake, here are a few alternatives you can try.


Cardamom is quite a common ingredient found in almost every kitchen, but did you know it can also be used as a substitute for your beloved salt? It has such a strong flavour that it can be found in everything from a spicy curry to your favourite cup of tea. This makes it a potent substitute for salt, especially when combined with cumin and coriander seeds.


Who doesn't love a little added spice in their meals? Cayenne peppers are also known as red chilli peppers and can be used as a spicier substitute for salt. It is a very popular seasoning in Spanish, Mexican and Indian cuisines, because of its spicy flavour. So, add a little cayenne the next time you want to add a little extra flavour to your dish.


Bay leaves are packed full of flavour and even have a distinct aroma. That is why they are quite commonly used to flavour meats. The leaves have an irresistible combination of both sweet and savoury flavours. This makes it a perfect alternative to salt. It will also add a new and interesting flavour to your favourite dishes. You can use dried bay leaves, crushed into pieces or add them whole.


Garlic powder is quite popular in the middle east. It makes a great alternative to salt as its distinct flavour adds a unique flavour to the food. It also has many medical benefits. While it can be added to practically everything, it?s most popular uses are in meats and curries.


Balsamic vinegar is already a popular salad dressing and works well for meats, too. If you're trying to avoid salt, Balsamic vinegar makes a great addition to your diet. Balsamic vinegar has very low sodium content and has actually been recommended by the American Heart Association for people that are trying to avoid high salt consumption.

Having to avoid salt can be quite a tedious task. It means you have to be extra careful with what you eat and that practically rules out your favourite restaurant.

Hopefully, these five alternatives will mean that you can still enjoy your favourite food without missing out on the flavour.

* Vineetha Reddy is a regular practitioner and adviser of everything related to health, fitness and yoga