Add Flavor by Reducing Salt

By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

Your Taste Buds Can Regain Their Preference For Unsalted Foods.

The natural flavor of food without added salt is a (re)acquired taste. It may take some time, but your taste preferences can change, and you can relearn to prefer food without salt.

In the meantime, be creative and use other flavoring agents. Try herbs, spices, onion, garlic, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, or lemon pepper to add flavor. Experiment with fresh herbs instead of the dried versions. The flavors of fresh mint, cilantro, and dill add interesting flavors. We use Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest as an ingredient in many soup and salad dressing recipes. Salt-free seasoning blends like Mrs. Dash seasoning are also useful.

Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and relish are high in sodium, so read labels, choose genuinely low sodium versions (read the Nutrition Facts label—don’t go by the manufacturer’s claims), and use sparingly to keep sodium at a healthful level.

Enhancing Flavors

You can enhance the flavors in vegetable dishes without adding salt. Many vegetables combine particularly well with certain herbs and spices:

  • Asparagus - Garlic, lemon juice, and vinegar
  • Corn - Pepper, green pepper, pimento, and fresh cilantro
  • Cucumbers - Dill weed, chives, and vinegar
  • Green beans - Lemon juice, marjoram, dill weed, nutmeg, pepper, and oregano
  • Greens - Onion, garlic, pepper, and vinegar
  • Peas - Mint, pepper, parsley, and onion
  • Potatoes - Dill, parsley, onion, green pepper, chives, and pimento
  • Squash - Onion, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and cinnamon
  • Tomatoes - Basil, garlic, oregano, marjoram, and onion


Try making your own seasoning blend. Here is an example:

Sample Seasoning Blend

  • 1 tsp. celery seed, ground
  • 2-1/2 tsp. marjoram, crushed
  • 2-1/2 tsp. summer savory, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. thyme, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp. garlic, crushed

You also can add dehydrated onion, oregano, chili powder, cumin, or other favorite flavors.

As you begin to regain your sense of taste, experiment with salt-free seasonings that appeal to you.The sooner you eliminate added salt from your diet, the sooner real foods will begin to taste deliciously flavorful.You will discover a whole new world of eating!

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