How to Take Salt Out of Food

Overview

Too much of anything is usually bad, and this is certainly the case with salt. High sodium intake causes heartburn, osteoporosis, certain kinds of cancer, and hypertension (high blood pressure), which can lead to stroke. So lowering the sodium intake in your diet is always a good idea. Try low-sodium salts, or simply remove the salt shaker from the table to avoid automatically reaching for it. Out of sight, out of mind! And here are a few other easy ways to desalt your diet.

Reducing Salt

Step 1

Check for low-sodium versions of canned products. If low-sodium is not available, take the food out of the can, drain well, then cover with water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain again, then cover with fresh water for another 10 minutes. The water will leech the salt out of the food. Taste the food after each change of water so you can stop before it gets too bland. This technique works well for canned vegetables of all kinds, and for canned meats such as spam, salmon, Vienna sausages, chicken, ham, etc. These can be extremely salty, as salt is a main ingredient used in food preservation.

Step 2

Try adding a sweet or acidic ingredient (honey, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) to offset the salty taste. But remember, this does not decrease sodium levels. Once salt has dissolved in liquid, it cannot be taken out. Although it is conventional wisdom to use potatoes to absorb salt, this is not the case. Potatoes (or apples, bread, rice, etc.) do not absorb only the salt; they absorb liquid as well, leaving the original amount of saltiness.

Step 3

Combine low-salt and no-salt versions of foods. This tip is especially useful if you don't like the "no salt" version but find that even the "lightly salted" contains too much sodium. Look for varying salt levels of microwave popcorn, chips, nuts, pretzels, and snack crackers, readily available in the snack aisle. This method also works with no- and low-sodium soups, condiments, salad dressings, peanut butter, etc. But remember, the best way to cut back on salt is not to use it in the first place, so try substituting garlic, oregano, cumin, thyme, rosemary, and other herbs, spices, and flavors in its place.

References

  • RawVeg: Salt
  • Bupa: Salt and Stomach Cancer Risk
Keywords: low salt, low sodium, high blood pressure

About this Author

Donni Jones has been an editor and writer since 1996. She has edited articles for and contributed content to numerous publications, magazines and online businesses such as FootSmart.com and KateAspen.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Florida.

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