Salty Foods – The magical ingredient we all crave

salty foods

Face it, we like salty foods

Who doesn’t like to sit down with a bag of potato chips or a bowl of popcorn and eat until it’s gone? We crave the taste of salty foods to the point of excess. According to the CDC, 90% of Americans consume too much salt.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.

On average, Americans eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day — much more than the American Heart Association and other health organizations recommend. Most of us are likely underestimating how much sodium we eat, if we can estimate it at all.

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I’m not sure if I’m one of them or not, but my gut says no. 2300 mg is about 1 teaspoon of salt. And as a general rule, especially while on this diet, I don’t snack. I also don’t eat prepared food and little that comes in a can. None of this is because I’m a health nut–far from it. But I am health conscious. I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease back in 2006. And when I started cooking, I simply became more aware of caloric and sodium intake.

Consequently, I’m of the opinion that we should attempt to optimize the sodium we consume. Optimize? Yes, optimize. And what I mean by that is seasoning while you’re cooking and not adding it while at the table.

A twofer I can get excited about.

Now the purpose of this post is neither to lay a guilt trip on anyone nor is it an attempt to change your eating habits. But if we can gain a health advantage and improve the flavor of our meals by making some adjustments in our cooking, that’s a twofer I can get excited about.

Today, I’ve found several articles dealing with salt and salty foods. I think there’s some good info in all of them, so I don’t have a feature article for this post. The first one up is from the medical perspective. Take it for what it’s worth. How to tame your salt habit.

Sodium alternatives

Then I have three that deal with alternatives to those little white crystals. The vast majority of these ingredients are in my kitchen at all times, including anchovies and salted fish. This is, in part, because I’m married to a Filipina as well as the fact I actually use them in my cooking.

Salt alternatives

No salt flavor enhancers

This last alternative stinks to high heaven, but not after you’ve added it to your food. I use it more and more.

Asian fish sauce

Many of the ingredients mentioned, especially the soy products, also add an element of umami, so you get a twofer. Eventually, I’ll be talking about adding layers of flavor to your dishes. And when you can add something like green olives or capers to a dish to add an element of a salty taste, you also gain the unique flavor of something else. At the same time, you eliminated the need for a few additional grains of sodium chloride.

It’s not just about how much salt you add… timing can be a key factor when it comes to making a dish as tasty as possible.

And since different recipes call for different kinds of salt, I thought I’d thrown in an article on the differences between the popular three. You can check that out here:

The differences between types of salt

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