You know cutting back on sodium is good for your heart – but some people find a low-sodium diet too bland for their palate.
Besides cooking with herbs and spices in lieu of salt, you can perk up the flavor of your foods with salty-tasting seasonings. Here are some to consider – and a few things to watch out for.
Brands: Morton Lite Salt Mixture; LoSalt
Some of the sodium is replaced with potassium chloride for a similar salty taste. These products are safe for most adults in moderate amounts – no more than ½ teaspoon per day – but people with kidney disease or who take heart or blood-pressure medications should avoid them, says Elizabeth Boeckelman, a registered dietitian at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in California. “These populations are at higher risk for elevated blood-potassium levels, which can be deadly,” she says.
Brands: AlsoSalt Original; Nu-Salt; Morton Salt Substitute
Potassium chloride replaces all sodium, creating the same kinds of risks as low-sodium salts. However, many people can use these salt substitutes safely – and even benefit from the potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. Just get the OK from your doctor before you start sprinkling.
Sodium-Free and Potassium-Free
Brands: Maine Coast Kelp Granules; Benson’s Table Tasty
Several substitutes use nutritional yeast (Table Tasty) or dried seaweed (Kelp Granules) for a salty taste. Boeckelman says that roughly 1.5 tablespoons of dried seaweed exceeds the safe upper limit for iodine intake, which can interfere with healthy thyroid function, so use kelp granules in moderation.
Self-styled “sodium girl” Jessica Goldman blogs about her low-sodium lifestyle at www.sodiumgirl.com. Facing lupus-related kidney failure, Goldman cut sodium in her diet and was able to avoid a kidney transplant. You can read her amazing success story here, and find a sampling of her low-sodium recipes here.