The melt-in-your-mouth crystal we know as table salt is actually sodium chloride, and the sodium in this and many other foods and drinks is a source of many health concerns.
As health organizations around the world find more links between excessive sodium intake and our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke, they’re advising consumers to watch how much of it they ingest.
Some organizations are even recommending that people eat out less often, but for many, that is not a realistic solution. Instead, we should find a way to give consumers what they want: the pleasure of dining out with the reassurance that they can find flavorful, lower sodium options that please both their senses and their health care providers.
Striking a balance
As consumers become more aware of sodium, it could change the way they want to eat. A recent report from the National Marketing Institute said approximately 42% of consumers would like less sodium in their food and about 50% check sodium on the label of packaged foods.
That doesn’t mean we should eliminate salt altogether. In Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, With Recipes, author Mark Bitterman says knowing how to use salt effectively is “probably the single most important skill a chef has.” While adding salt is often a quick, easy way to enhance taste, it’s even more fun to add flavor to a dish through other ingredients.
In fact, artisanal and specialty salts are becoming more prominent in today’s ingredient-driven kitchens. Many chefs enjoy using kosher or sea salt in cooking, or flaky salt as a finishing touch that’s rich in taste and texture. Salt is even being paired with sweetness in desserts like salted caramel ice cream or chocolate covered pretzels.
The takeaway? There’s plenty of reason to keep salt in your toolkit. The key is to use it thoughtfully by balancing flavor and texture and considering the overall sodium level of foods
Is sea salt healthier than other salts?
There is a popular perception that you can use less sea salt and still provide the same amount of flavor. However, experiments show that this is not the case, and using less sea salt results in a less salty taste, just as it would with any other type of salt.