• Trishna Patnaik

How to substitute salt in your daily diet with regular herbs?

Recent data on salt intake levels in India show consumption is around 11 g per day, higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended intake of 5 g per day. However, high-quality data on sources of salt in diets to inform a salt reduction strategy are mostly absent.

Eating salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and wrecks the delicate balance, reducing the ability of your kidneys to remove the water. The result is a higher blood pressure due to the extra fluid and extra strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys.

In India certain herbs and spices can alter the taste of your food without the added sodium load of the salt yet can give you the same taste. Elate Wellbeing Nutritionists have created a list of such herbs to replace salt.

1. Mint

Mint Taste: A bright and refreshing herb that works in sweet and savoury dishes.

Uses: Great in salads, on pasta or in couscous. It’s tasty with carrots, peas or broad beans.

2. Nutmeg

Nutmeg Taste: Sweet and pungent flavour. Works well in baked foods with cinnamon and cloves.

Uses: Add nutmeg with black pepper to homemade white and cheese sauces. It also adds warmth and flavour to homemade potato, cabbage and cauliflower soups.

3. Basil

Basil Taste: Sweet and peppery.

Uses: Perfect for pesto, marinades, dressings, sauces, sandwiches, soups and salads. Basil is traditionally used in Mediterranean cooking, in tomato-based pasta sauces, pizzas and bolognese. Use lemon, Thai and holy basil in South Asian and Thai dishes.

4. Cardamom

CardamonTaste: A warm, aromatic spice.

Preparation: Add whole cardamom pods to your dishes or use the seeds inside, either whole or ground.

Uses: Commonly added to Asian spice mixes and curry pastes. Cardamom also works well in baked goods and sweetbreads, with cloves and cinnamon, for a taste of Scandinavia.

5. Chilli/Cayenne

ChilliTaste: Chillis vary quite a lot in strength, so add a little at first and taste your dish. Cayenne is a specific type of chilli.

Uses: It works well in most dishes, including vegetable or seafood stews or vegetable soup. Add a pinch of chilli with a little mustard to spice up a cheese sauce, helping you use less cheese. Combine with cumin, coriander seeds and turmeric to give foods an Indian twist.

6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Taste: Mostly used in sweet treats like cake and apple crumble but works with savoury dishes too.

Uses: Cinnamon is an important spice in Turkish and Middle Eastern cooking, where it is used to flavour chicken and lamb dishes. Use it to deepen the flavour of cottage pie, curries, tagines, casseroles, roast vegetables, bolognese sauce or stewed fruit.

9. Coriander

Coriander Taste: Coriander leaves have a distinct earthy and lemony flavour, while coriander seeds have a warm, spicy, citrus flavour when crushed.

Uses: Add coriander leaves to salads, soups (eg carrot and coriander soup), salsas, curries and fish and chicken dishes, or combine it with lime and chilli in stir-fries.

10. Cumin

Cumin Taste: Earthy and smoky.

Uses: After black pepper, cumin is the most-used spice worldwide. It is flavoursome without too much spiciness. Cumin goes with practically any dish but particularly with lamb, game, beans and rice. Combine with oregano and chilli for a Mexican twist, or with cardamom, coriander and turmeric.

Get nutrition consultation from Elate Wellbeing Diet consultants to improve physical and mental health.

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