It’s no news that artificial salt and sugar have a detrimental effect on your health. Studies have shown that consuming too much salt leads to increased blood pressure, and a few reports also point towards cognitive decline as a side-effect. On the other hand, a high sugar intake increases risks of a heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Thus, it is advised that you consume the two in a minimal amount or not at all to stay in good health.
However, the question beckons, is it possible to exclude salt and sugar from your food without compromising on the taste? Well yes, we list out ten alternatives which not only act as perfect substitutes, but are also easily found in your kitchen.
1. Ginger: The peppery undertones of the spice can easily elevate the flavor of any dish. Use it as a paste to marinate or grate it and stir into curries, ginger will never disappoint.
2. Vinegar: There is more to vinegar than being used as a salad dressing. Its naturally salty taste makes it an excellent alternative to salt. Use it to make a moist homemade chocolate cake or add that punch to your soups, the choices are aplenty.
3. Garlic: With garlic in the dish, there is no room for missing salt. Sauté it for that nutty flavour in your stir fry veggies. You can also chop some cloves up and add them to take curries and stews to the next level.
4. Onions: They are an Indian household staple. From humble lentils to restaurant-worthy pizzas, onions are perfect to add that crunch (if raw) or an umami flavor to your dishes (caramelised).
5. Curry Powder: Instead of opting for store-bought curry powders, which have preservatives for longer shelf life, grind whole spices together to make a fine curry powder. Store it in a jar and add to any preparation for that tanginess.
6. Fruits: Some fruits like apples, pineapples, figs, dates, and bananas have a natural sugar content which is not harmful for you. You could make individual purees out of these fruits and add it in place of sugar. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup sugar, you can replace it with half a cup of fruit puree. Similarly, freshly squeezed juice or even a smoothie can do without added sugar.
7. Cinnamon: Instead of cream and sugar, add a dash of cinnamon to your coffee, porridge, cocoa or oatmeal. It works perfectly well in baked desserts and breads, especially if you are diabetic and want to try an alternative to refined sweeteners.
8. Jaggery: Perhaps the most popular and healthiest substitute to sugar, jaggery can be added to just about any dish or drink which requires additional sugar. Grate or cut it to add to your beverages, or add it to the batter when you are baking, you can even dissolve it in water to make a sweet syrup which can then be used as a topping with waffles and ice-creams.
9. Nutmeg: Like cinnamon power, grated nutmeg can be added to coffee, cocoa and oatmeal as an alternative to sugar. A teaspoon of nutmeg can also spice up your carrot or beetroot juice and give baked products that much-needed zing.
10. Honey: This is a good alternative to sugar, but the quantity used in the dish needs to be limited. The presence of fructose can result in a few health issues. We suggest consulting your doctor before deciding on the amount to consume every day.