If You Want to Reduce Sodium Then Do a Swap

Posted 03/15/2016 | By HealthCorps

You’d have to be living in a bubble to have missed all the recent warnings about the high sodium levels in our diets. Highly processed foods typically contain high levels of salt. If you eat a typical American diet or eat out a fair amount, then your diet is likely chock full of sodium; so is your kid’s diet. Salt enhances the flavor of food so it’s challenging to limit this ingredient. One option is to swap out salt for another lower sodium or sodium free ingredient.

Most healthy cooks will use fresh and dried herbs, sautéed and roasted vegetables, and pureed vegetables to bump up the flavor of certain dishes while limiting sodium. The problem is that our palates have really become accustomed to salt and its impact on food’s deliciousness, saltiness and flavor. Unfortunately, a diet high in sodium increases your risk of developing hypertension. Some food experts tout a less known ingredient that can allow you to reduce the use of sodium without compromising taste. Have you heard of fish sauce?

A study published in the January issue of Journal of Food Science found that Vietnamese fish sauce can be added to chicken broth, tomato sauce, coconut curry, allowing for sodium reduction in the range of 10-25% with no taste compromise. Fish sauce is a popular condiment in Southeast Asian cuisine. It falls under the umami category of taste and is used as a source of protein and seasoning in Asia.

The research team showed that fish sauce can be used as a “partial substitute ingredient” for salt in certain recipes, without impairing the taste of the foods. It may be a viable ingredient for the home cook and for food manufacturers and professional chefs to use in order to lower the salt content of dishes, while preserving flavor. Just remember that though you are “reducing sodium” with this condiment, salt is still present in the dish. Use the condiment sparingly and keep portion control in mind when eating dishes with even reduced salt levels.

If you bake and the recipe calls for salt, use a product like Morton’s Light Salt, since sodium chloride is necessary for bread to rise, and it also provides texture and flavor. A salt substitute that only contains potassium chloride won’t work as a substitute in bread recipes.

In some recipes, lemon juice can substitute for salt. There’s also low sodium or sodium-free baking powder if a recipe calls for that specific ingredient. Other low salt or salt free tips:

• Vinegars can work in meat marinades instead of salt.
• Citrus juice + olive oil can substitute for bottled marinades.
• Zero salt products like Mrs. Dash can substitute for salt in many dishes.
• Choose low sodium soy sauce for stir fry dishes.
Oils with flavors like walnut, pumpkin seed and sesame oils can substitute for salt + plain oils in some dishes.

Source: Journal of Food Science

Sign up for our newsletter and receive updates on HealthCorps and health news and tips!

Join the conversation! Leave a comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.


Subscribe to the HealthCorps Newsletter