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Healthy Flavorings You Can Use Instead of Salt and Sugar

Healthy Flavorings You Can Use Instead of Salt and Sugar

Many of us understand that too much salt and sugar can be bad for our health. And while it’s mostly difficult to stop consuming them because they season our food well and they’re inexpensive, there are a lot of ingredients we can use in their place. When preparing a no salt, no sugar meal plan, what alternative ingredients can you use?

Tips on How to Stop Craving Sugar and Salt

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a very versatile flavoring ingredient. For one, you can mix it in soups to add taste. Likewise, you can add a splash of lemon juice to marinate chicken and other kinds of meat. For fish, using lemon not only gives taste, but it also balances out the fishy taste or “lansa.”

Aside from adding taste and aroma to foods, lemon juice is also highly beneficial because it contains vitamin C, which helps in boosting the immune system. Moreover, it has flavonoids, a known antioxidant that potentially helps fight cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

If you cannot get your hands on lemon, you can use other citrus fruits, such as kalamansi or Philippine lime.

Cayenne Pepper

Also known as siling labuyo, cayenne pepper is another ingredient to use if you want to prepare a no salt, no sugar meal plan.

Many people avoid cayenne pepper because they are not fond of its strong, spicy taste. However, you can adjust the “hotness” by adding an amount appropriate to your liking.

Like lemon juice, cayenne pepper is versatile because you can add it to many dishes. Furthermore, it comes in many preparations. Aside from the fresh or dried chilis, you can also find chili powder and flakes.

Cayenne pepper has a lot of benefits, too. Studies show that it’s packed with vitamins and minerals and it even helps improve blood circulation. What’s more, reports indicate that the capsaicin in cayenne pepper can boost our metabolism, thereby helping us burn calories for weight loss.

Here’s a key reminder: As much as possible, stick to fresh siling labuyo, chili powder, and flakes. Avoid chili paste and sauce as they might contain added salt and sugar.

The Health Benefits of Siling Labuyo

Ginger

Preparing a no salt, no sugar meal plan is made easier with ginger or luya.

When you use it as a salt and sugar alternative, you’ll have a slightly sweet, lemony, and peppery taste. It also comes with a “sharp” aroma.

You can add ginger to a variety of dishes that have vegetables, pork, and other meat. For instance, you can grate fresh ginger into stir-fries and curries. You can also rub grated fresh ginger on meat before you bake or barbecue them. Finally, try adding ginger to your salad dressing.

Aside from being tasty, ginger is also a healthy flavoring. Studies show that it can help improve blood health. Consuming ginger may even promote digestion and prevent ulcers.

Luya is also thought to ease pains like headache and toothache.

The Health Benefits of Ginger (Luya)

Oregano

If you don’t mind a slightly bitter taste, you might want to try oregano–a member of the mint family.

In preparing a no salt, no sugar meal plan using oregano, remember that you can either add the leaves whole or chop them.

Oregano is great for marinating seafood, poultry, and other meats. You can also add the leaves in salads, casseroles, bread, and spaghetti.

But does oregano have health benefits? Studies show that oregano is rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Some reports also reveal that it has anti-bacterial and antiviral properties capable of helping us fight infections.

If you want to add oregano but find its taste too strong, you can go for marjoram. Marjoram is also a member of the mint family, but its taste is milder compared to oregano.

no salt no sugar meal plan

Garlic

You can add garlic or bawang if you’re gearing towards a no salt, no sugar meal plan.

Like the aforementioned ingredients, garlic is flexible–you can use it to season almost any dish, especially pork and pasta.

Depending on the dish you’re cooking, you can add whole garlic cloves or chop and mince it first to release flavor.

If there’s one highly sought-after benefit of garlic, it would be its ability to lower our blood pressure. Some studies also suggest that it’s a good ingredient for lowering high cholesterol levels.

Remember: Stay away from garlic salt if you’re looking for a no-salt, no-sugar meal plan. As much as possible, to stick to fresh garlic.

Bawang as Herbal Medicine: Uses and Benefits

Cinnamon

Now, what if you want to prepare predominantly sweet foods like cakes? Instead of sugar, why not add grated cinnamon sticks to your baked goods?

Besides helping us lower our sugar intake, cinnamon is highly beneficial because it has properties that ease swelling and inflammation. Moreover, it’s loaded with polyphenols–a type of antioxidant that combats the damage caused by free-radicals.

Another good thing about cinnamon is, even though it’s on the sweet side, you can still add it to poultry dishes, roasted veggies, casseroles, and curries.

no salt no sugar meal plan

Additional Reminders

In reducing your salt and sugar intake, it’s important to understand that you need to refrain from eating packed foods. This is because they usually contain a lot of salt and sugar. Examples are canned foods, soups, and sweet drinks.

When reading labels, look for foods that have a sodium content of 140 mg or less.

Also, try to experiment with other condiments. Consider adding various herbs and spices in your pantry and check how different kinds of oil and vinegar affect the taste of the dish.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

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Sources

Flavoring Foods Without Salt
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11726-flavoring-foods-without-salt
Accessed September 10, 2020

Cooking without salt
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000760.htm
Accessed September 10, 2020

Easy ways to cook better: Salt alternatives
https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/herbs-and-spices
Accessed September 10, 2020

Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
Accessed September 10, 2020

Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon (C. zeylanicum and C. cassia) extracts – identification of E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxy cinnamaldehyde as the most potent bioactive compounds
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25629927/
Accessed September 10, 2020

Flavonoid-rich diet protects against cancer and heart disease, study finds
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190813080204.htm#:~:text=Flavonoid%2Drich%20diet%20protects%20against%20cancer%20and%20heart%20disease%2C%20study%20finds,-Date%3A%20August%2013&text=Summary%3A,drinkers%2C%20according%20to%20new%20research.
Accessed September 10, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jan 28
Fact Checked by Chris Icamen
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