Salt and spices have been with us since time immemorial when the first men used them for preservation. Today we use them to enhance the flavor of our dishes.
We know that excessive salt consumption in the diet is detrimental to health. However, eliminating it would be a tremendous mistake since it provides sodium, an essential mineral to maintain pH and water retention that helps maintain a healthy body—correct hydration. Proper hydration is an essential factor for the regulation of all body processes. Poor hydration can have serious consequences depending on the percentage of water lost, starting with a drop in sports performance, followed by dizziness, and can even lead to death.
The minimum salt intake is about 3 grams a day, and the maximum is 5 to cover the basic requirements of the organism. But in general terms, more is consumed since we not only have to count the salt that we consciously add to our dishes to give flavor, the excess salt is hidden above all in ultra-processed products and prepared foods, where it is used as a method of conservation and to increase its palatability. “Many people believe that salt makes you fat, but… what does science say? Its main component is sodium, which is essential for health; however, many foods already contain it, and we add more. The recommended amount is about 5 grams, but on average, you take more than double, and excessive sodium intake can cause hypertension and heart disease.
We may adapt our taste to the progressive decrease in salt by reducing our salt usage and substituting it in part with spices to flavor our favorite recipe. For this reason, you should become aware of the amount of salt you consume throughout the day. If it exceeds 5g of salt per day, consider the option of reducing this consumption and the ways to reduce it.
Remember that your problem may be the quantity of ultra-processed food, meats, and pre-cooked products you consume; therefore, you should focus on minimizing the amount of these items you consume regularly. To understand the amounts you consume with these products, you can look at the nutritional value label: 1g of sodium is equivalent to 2.5g of salt.
Spices add a delicious touch to our dishes and have different properties that make them beneficial for health. They have no calories, and we can reduce salt consumption in a day with them.
Can You Continue to Enjoy the Pleasure of Eating Without Using Salt?
Almost seven out of ten older people cannot take salt, or at least they should not, since according to data,65% of those over 60 have hypertension, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Many reasons can lead us to have high blood pressure, such as being overweight, genes, race, stress, or certain diseases, but an excess of salt in the diet causes the body to retain fluids and causes hypertension. Experts recommend a maximum daily intake of 5g of salt per person; however, the Spanish population is estimated to consume approximately 10g, twice the recommended amount. Excess salt not only causes high blood pressure and, with it, possible strokes, heart attacks, and kidney diseases, but its abuse in the diet can lead to diseases such as kidney failure, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, ulcers, etc.
One of the reasons that many people take more salt than necessary occurs almost without realizing it or by not paying excessive attention to what we consume. The more processed foods are taken, the more salt is introduced into the body. It is advisable to reduce or avoid pre-cooked meals, preserves, sausages (even York ham must be watched, since some may contain as much salt as Serrano ham), smoked foods, chips and similar appetizers, olives, sauces, semi-cured cheeses and cured (it is better to eat fresh or tender cheese that usually contains less salt and fat), carbonated drinks or even bread (better to consume it without salt). The idea is to consume fresh, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat, choose foods with low salt content, and not add more when cooking.
But, if these tips are followed, can you continue to enjoy the pleasure of eating? The answer is yes! Of course! At first, it may seem strange to us or even that the food has lost its flavor, but if we are constant and creative, since there are multiple possibilities to replace it, gradually, we will get used to the real taste of food. For this reason, experts have selected which are the best substitutes to season food without the need to use salt and discover exquisite flavors such as garlic, onion, ginger, etc.