Many people who have had a heart or blood pressure health issue are prescribed a no-salt diet by their doctors. Many food products are now being made with less salt or no salt to accommodate this dietary restriction, but you still should be vigilant about checking the ingredient list on any food that you did not prepare. And while there is a whole list of foods and products that should be avoided on the no-salt diet, there are plenty more foods that you can still enjoy.
Most fruits do not naturally contain salt or sodium, and many of them can be eaten with little or no preparation, so they make great snacks, desserts or whole meals. Fruits such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, cantaloupes and raspberries can be blended with ice to create an icy dessert or eaten raw for a fresh treat. The only fruits that should be avoided are those that have been glazed, crystallised or used in a sauce that you did not prepare yourself. These have a high possibility of containing salt or sodium and should therefore be avoided. But fresh fruit is completely acceptable and full of vitamins and minerals that your body needs, while also full of flavour that your mouth will enjoy.
Fresh vegetables are completely acceptable, and not only can you eat them, but you should! Uncooked vegetables have the most vitamins and minerals to offer your body, and hold more of their natural flavour, so you may not even miss the salt. Cooked and canned vegetables are fine to eat as well, as long as they were prepared with no salt or sodium.
Certain vegetables have naturally occurring sodium in them, such as celery, beets and spinach. Unfortunately, that means they should stay off your meal plan. Any vegetable in a brine, such as pickles, are full of sodium and should be avoided. However, vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, squash, peppers and eggplant can be eaten as you wish.
Protein is an important part of every diet. However, most people automatically associate the word with meat. While meat does contain protein, protein can also be found in low-sodium options such as tempeh, tofu, eggs, kidney beans, low-sodium peanut butter and seitan. If those options are unappealing to you, you can also eat chicken, turkey, lean beef or white fish. The only catch to this is that nothing can be prepared with any type of seasoning or sauce that contains salt.
Protein products to avoid include bacon, lunch meats, cured meats, pickled meats, regular peanut butter, pork, caviar, sausage and corned beef. Remember, you can still have your beef and eat it too, as long as you keep it salt-free.
- "The No Salt Cookbook"; David C. Anderson, Thomas D. Anderson; 2001
- "Low-Salt Cookbook"; American Heart Association; 2002