How to Cut Salt and Improve Taste, 7 Unusual Tips
Americans consume too much salt, and even though there is a new report questioning the benefits of ingesting less than the recommended 2,300 mg per day, few people are in that situation. So if you are among the majority of people who are consuming more salt than is healthy, here are 7 unusual tips on how to cut salt and improve taste.
Food can taste great without salt
If you think this article is going to tell you to use spices instead of salt, then you are wrong. That’s probably the number one tip people are given when they are told to cut back on salt consumption.
No, the tips listed here ways to enhance the ability of your taste buds to appreciate the flavor of natural and unprocessed foods without the burden of salt. One of the biggest complaints about eating foods that have no added salt or consuming natural foods is that there isn’t enough flavor.
But flavor and taste are not just about your taste buds; they also are about smell, temperature, texture, and memories. You can improve your sense of taste and enjoy the flavor of foods that are natural and unprocessed, and without adding salt, if you try these tips with these foods.
Practice mindful eating. That means you should focus on your food while eating and not be watching TV or a movie or driving to work. Savor each morsal: chew it slowly and completely, appreciating its flavor, texture, and aroma. Do you remember eating this food as a child, and are there any pleasant memories surrounding it?
If you are eating something that has several ingredients, try to identify each of them as you chew. After you swallow, pause for several seconds before taking another bite and allow yourself to appreciate what you have just eaten. Practice mindful eating for better flavor!
Breathe. Taste is also about smell, so be sure to take the time to breathe slowly and deeply before your meal. During your meal, also pause several times and take a few deep, slow breaths and appreciate the aroma of your food.
Such breathing exercise also helps open up your nasal passages, which can improve your ability to enjoy your food and its flavors because you are inhaling more of the molecules that carry the food’s aroma. Taking time to breathe in between bites also allows you to digest your food better, and you are more likely to not overeat because you will feel full faster.
Check your medications. Many people are not aware that medications can dull your sense of taste. More than 250 prescription drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, high cholesterol drugs, and asthma medications can tone down your ability to taste your food. In addition, radiation and chemotherapy have a negative impact on sense of taste.
If you have recently started taking a new medication or if you are already taking drugs, talk to your healthcare provider about finding another option or at least reducing your dose. If these choices are not possible, then you may need to increase your use of herbs, spices, citrus, and other non-salt ingredients in your food to boost the flavor of your food.
Treat your nose. That’s right: if your nasal passages and sinuses are inflamed or irritated because you have a cold, flu, allergies, or other respiratory condition, then your sense of smell is compromised and therefore your sense of taste as well. Although you will need to be patient while these conditions resolve, you can take steps to treat your nose.
Since medications such as antihistamines can dull your sense of taste (as noted under “Check your medications”), try some natural ways to help improve your sense of smell. A neti pot can help clear nasal congestion and your sinuses, as can a vaporizer to which you’ve added a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil.
Shake the sugar. Eating foods high in sugar can overstimulate your taste buds. If you cut down on your intake of sugary foods, you will gradually notice that other foods taste stronger. This change will not happen immediately; give yourself a month or so to notice and savor the changes in how your food tastes.
Wipe the slate clean. This is a trade practice among professional taste testers, so why not take advantage of their secret! When you switch between different foods, cleanse your palate by sucking on a lemon slice, chewing a plain oyster cracker, or swishing warm water in your mouth. These tips can help neutralize the lingering taste in your mouth from your previous food choice.
Keep it warm. Many foods taste better when they are hot or warm. However, once food is served, it can cool down quickly, and as it cools the flavor can fade. Keep hot foods covered in their serving dishes and take small portions so your food does not become cold. You can even place hot or warm food items in a separate, covered plate for yourself.
You can cut the salt in your diet, improve your health, and also enjoy tasty food all at the same time. Try these unusual tips and be prepared to taste your food in new ways.