How to Add Flavor to a Low Sodium Diet

Looking to cut back on salt? Try these helpful tips.

Whether you go on a low sodium diet for medical reasons or because you’re tired of being bloated all the time, adapting to a low sodium diet can be challenging. The good thing is there are many ways to make your dishes pop with flavor without adding unnecessary amounts of salt. If you are trying to maintain a low sodium lifestyle, cooking from home may be the best option so you can control just how much salt goes into your food. Here are some of the best ways to liven up your dish when you cook without sacrificing your health.

Herbs and Spices

The right herbs and spices can fill your dish with loads of flavor. There are many options to choose from when it comes to herbs and spices which can keep things on your plate interesting! Add fresh or dried herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley. Choose spices that pack a punch such as curry, paprika, and garlic powder. Make sure you check the label if you are buying pre-made spice combos as there can be added salt in them.

Nutritional Yeast

Most cheeses are high in sodium, but with nutritional yeast you don’t have to miss out on the amazing cheese flavor. Nutritional yeast, often used by vegans as a cheese substitute, has a deep cheesy flavor that can be used on any foods you desire. Sprinkle this flavoring over your favorite dishes and you’ll be presently surprised how well it can satisfy a cheese craving. From rice and veggies to popcorn and even salads – its uses go a long way!


Most store-bought broths are loaded with sodium, so make sure you purchase a low-sodium brand or make your own. You can make both vegetable and meat broth by boiling veggies or bones in a pot and adding spices and herbs – not salt – for more flavor. Using the broth as a “base” for other dishes will add flavor where least expected such as using the broth as the water substitute in boiling rice, or even potatoes, so no additional seasoning is needed.

Onions and Garlic

Aromatics play a huge role in adding flavors to many dishes. Roasted garlic and caramelized onions can make a dish turn from bland to sweet and savory fast. Chop them up and toss with olive oil in a pan, or bake in the oven with your choice of lean protein, potatoes, or veggies.


Believe it or not, lemon is a great natural flavor to replace salt. Adding a few generous squirts of either lemon or lime to a plate will encourage other flavors to pop while also adding a refreshing, strong flavor all on their own. Try marinating your meals the night before in citrus to optimize flavor.


There are many different flavors used in marinating to keep your plates ever-changing and satisfying – providing flavor without necessarily adding salt. If you choose to buy a marinade, always read labels to make sure they are low-sodium. Keep in mind you don’t have to buy pre-made marinades each time, you can get creative and use a tasty low-sodium salad dressing, or experiment with different kinds of vinegar at home. From sweet to spicy, marinating will bring some excitement out in many of your favorite dishes – you won’t even miss the salt!


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Your Parent Has Dementia: What to Talk to Their Doctor About

Make sure all their doctors are aware of all the medications she is taking.

Q: My mom is 94 and has dementia. She is taking a whole medicine cabinet-full of medications and I think they actually make her fuzzier. How should I talk to her various doctors about what she is taking and if she can get off some of the meds? — Gary R., Denver, Colorado

A: Many dementia patients are taking what docs call a "polypharmacy" — three or more medications that affect their central nervous system. And we really don't know how that mixture truly affects each individual person.

A new study in JAMA Network that looked at more than 1 million Medicare patients found almost 14% of them were taking a potentially harmful mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Ativan, nonbenzodiazepine benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics such as Ambien or Sonata, and opioids. And almost a third of those folks were taking five or more such medications. The most common medication combination included an antidepressant, an antiepileptic, and an antipsychotic. Gabapentin was the most common medication — often for off-label uses, such as to ease chronic pain or treat psychiatric disorders, according to the researchers from the University of Michigan.

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