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See 7 seasonings that can help reduce salt consumption

O salt It is one of the most used seasonings in Brazilian cuisine. According to a recent survey, the average consumption of the ingredient by Brazilians is 6 grams (1 full teaspoon) per day. However, this number exceeds the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of consuming a maximum of 5 grams of salt per day, which may be related to a greater risk and incidence of hypertension in the country.

According to data from the Mortality Information System (SIM), from the Ministry of Health, mortality from high blood pressure in Brazil reached the highest value in the last ten years, with 18.7 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants in the country in 2021.

“Several studies have already shown the risks of excessive salt consumption, such as high blood pressure, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, progression of kidney diseases, the risk of osteoporosis, in addition to causing greater fluid retention”, says Rodrigo Neves, postgraduate doctor. graduated in nutrition.

Furthermore, according to nutritionist Carol Caldas, a specialist in functional clinical nutrition and functional gastroenterology, explains that consuming excess salt can worsen menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood changes. “Monosodium glutamate, often found in processed foods, is another sodium-rich ingredient that can contribute to these problems,” she explains.

Therefore, it is essential to know other seasonings that can help reduce salt consumption and, in the same way, offer more flavor and palatability to food. Next, the CNN , with the help of experts, lists 7 seasonings that can be substitutes for salt in culinary preparations. Check out.

1. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most used ingredients in Brazilian cuisine to season beans, rice, sauces, meat, fish, among other preparations. But, in addition to enhancing the flavor of food, this seasoning can be a good substitute for salt.

“Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as helping to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health”, explains Caldas.

Additionally, garlic offers several health benefits, such as antimicrobial properties that can help fight bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens. Other studies also suggest that garlic may be associated with a lower risk of types of cancer, such as stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.

2. Onion

Onion, like garlic, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, is also a good seasoning alternative to reduce salt consumption. “Both onions and garlic are recognized for strengthening the immune system, in addition to being rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals,” says Neves.

Onions can be used with garlic to prepare sauces, broths, beans, rice, in addition to being able to accompany proteins such as meat, chicken fillet, various fish and, of course, be served in a salad.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric, also known as turmeric, is popular for adding color and flavor to various culinary preparations. It can be a good seasoning to replace or reduce salt consumption due to its nutritional and medicinal properties, as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Furthermore, among the benefits of turmeric observed in studies are improved brain and cardiovascular health, aid in digestion, protective potential against cancer and improvement of the immune system, among others.

4. Parsley

Parsley is also a good alternative to salt as it can help reduce fluid retention — a condition that may be related to excessive salt consumption, among other factors. According to Neves, this ingredient is rich in vitamins, such as A, C and K, and has diuretic properties.

The herb can be used in meats, sauces, soups, vegetables and fish. Furthermore, it can also be added to drinks, such as juices and functional vitamins, giving a touch of freshness and flavor.

5. Green smell

Green scent is a type of seasoning made up of parsley and chives, which offers compounds that improve blood circulation, according to Caldas. Furthermore, the green smell is a source of vitamins and minerals essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system and the body as a whole.

This seasoning, in addition to helping to reduce salt consumption, is also used to add aroma and flavor to various Brazilian cuisine preparations, such as beans, moqueca, tacacá, among others.

6. Oregano

Oregano is a plant widely used in the preparation of pizzas, pastas and salads, but it can be added to various dishes as a salt substitute. This ingredient has several beneficial properties for health, such as antioxidants, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory and anticancer.

Furthermore, like the green scent, oregano can help promote digestion and help control diabetes. Oregano can be added to prepare meat, fish and sauces.

7. Basil

According to Neves, basil is also a leaf with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and, therefore, offers health benefits such as strengthening the immune system, improving digestion, preventing high blood pressure and helping to regulate blood sugar.

Basil can be used to prepare recipes in which it is prevalent, such as pesto sauce and caprese salad, but it can also be used as a salt substitute, helping to reduce sodium consumption.

Other tips for reducing salt in your diet

In addition to using other seasonings to add flavor and palatability to food, it is interesting to use some strategies to reduce salt consumption on a daily basis. According to experts consulted by CNN, important tips include:

  • Avoid ultra-processed foods rich in sodium, such as sausages, canned foods and savory snacks, industrialized broths and industrialized bread and bakery products;
  • Use natural seasonings, such as herbs and spices;
  • Read labels to identify foods with low sodium content;
  • Try light salt, which has less sodium than common salt;
  • Cook more at home, avoiding ready-made preparations;
  • Adjust the taste gradually, reducing the salt little by little to adapt the taste to the less salty flavor.

Source: CNN Brasil

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