Cut Salt Intake Without Flavor Loss — Family Caregiver Quick Tip

Bland, boring and tasteless food is something none of us enjoy eating.

That’s especially true of our seniors who may have waning appetites.

Seniors are at even more at risk for bad appetites, as some of their medications may be causing unpleasant taste sensations in their mouth, inhibiting their meal consumption.

Many seniors also have been told for years, and maybe with even more insistence lately, they need to lower their salt (sodium chloride) intake to control their blood pressure or fluid retention.

Some of our seniors have been salting their food their entire lives and don’t want to stop now.

The bad part is that it isn’t just about the salt from the shaker, as some of the food choices we make out of convenience and availability are adding more sodium than most of us need for the whole day. Many foods we all eat add sodium to our menus which could surprise us once we read the labels.

How can our seniors still enjoy the foods they eat and cut down on sodium? It can be done!

Why Should We Lower The Sodium?

A new study published in Stroke confirms a direct link between salt intake and stroke.

It is estimated that 100,000 deaths each year could be prevented with sodium restrictions.

We know that lowering our sodium intake will help us manage our blood pressure, even if the exact number we need is in question.

The average American consumes 3,400 mgs of sodium a day but our senior loved ones (and us) should use closer to 2,300 mgs a day and, if we have hypertension, should be looking toward consuming only 1,500 mgs a day.

Tips for Lowering Sodium Without Losing Taste

Since taste is important and often why we eat a certain food, here are some tips to cut the salt while keeping the taste:

  1. Keep it fresh, using fresh or minimally processed ingredients so your senior can prepare it and season it themselves and be in control of the sodium they are getting. This can be as much as half the sodium in their meals.
  2. Add zest with healthy seasonings such as citrus, fresh and dried herbs, chili peppers, vinegars, ginger, onion, and spices instead of adding salt.
  3. Buy low sodium or no salt added versions of the foods they currently use. Read the food labels to compare products and buy the lower sodium versions.
  4. Cut the salt added a step at a time, if necessary, to allow taste buds to adapt. Eventually, as senior’s taste changes, taste buds will balk at over-salted food.
  5. Ask your senior’s pharmacist to review their medication list to see if any could be causing taste sensations.

You can help your senior loved one take control of the salt in their diet to be healthier and manage their chronic health conditions.

Additional Resources

Changing your diet because you have been told to by the doctor or want to for your own health is not always easy for your senior or you.

Here are additional articles with helpful information that may make it easier to take small steps toward wellness.