Can you imagine a single meal without the addition of salt? Difficult, right? We have been generously seasoning our food with salt and relishing snacks with high sodium food additives for decades, but did you know that a high salt diet can cause everything from high blood pressure to kidney disease and even strokes and dementia?
We eat 10 grams of salt every day on an average, studies say. That’s twice the recommended amount by the World Health Organisation (WHO). With the increased consumption of packaged foods, the amount of salt we are putting in our bodies is increasing rapidly and it won’t be long before our children start showing the harmful effects choosing high salt foods over a low sodium diet.
But what if we told you that you can have flavourful, yet healthy meals made up of low sodium foods from your very own kitchen?
Here are 5 low salt foods that you can include to provide your family with a low sodium diet:
1. Fresh Fruits
There’s so much you can do with fresh and seasonal fruits. Fruit salads, smoothies, and frozen fruit sorbets delight children and adults alike. Fruits are natural low sodium foods that are rich in natural sugars, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs. You can go wild while experimenting with them.
Nuts can safely be included in a low sodium diet and they are protein and mineral-rich as well. Buy unsalted nuts and nut butter with zero food additives and use them to make creamy marinades, sauces spreads and dips. You can then serve these with idlis, millet dosas, ragi snacks or over salads or use in pasta as a vegan sauce.
Almost all vegetables can be considered as low sodium foods; however, green beans, cucumbers, peas and broccoli top the list. Green leafy vegetables do have naturally occurring sodium, so including these with other veggies might not need you to add too much table salt. Season vegetables with the right spices and herbs to bring out their natural flavors. You can then flavor up your dals and pulaos without needing to add much salt. Serving tossed veggies with a millet dosa or adding a soup with oat and ragi snacks will ensure that you and your family are having a low sodium diet.
Of all the grains, millets contain the least sodium and of the millets, ragi or finger millet is said to have very low sodium levels. Ragi is rich in iron, calcium, and fiber too, and pretty versatile. You can whip up mixed ragi and millet dosas, ragi snacks, porridges, and bhakris or rotlas. Millets are also relatively unprocessed, so you can get most of all that complex carbohydrate goodness.
5. Lean Meat and Eggs
It is possible to cook lean meats and eggs with less salt as these foods are healthy and naturally sodium-rich. We tend to over season our meats which dominate the taste and flavor of the natural oils in them. Baking or grilling the meats with veggies and herbs will not need excess salt. These cooking processes are healthier too.
Tips to ensure you’re having low salt foods:
1) Avoid eating packaged, canned and fried foods. These foods invariably have food additives with high salt content. Go for fresh food.2) We tend to eat pickles, ketchup, dips and salad dressings that are high sodium foods and are full of food additives like preservatives. Make these at home with a low amount of rock salt or black salt instead.
- Preeti Athri