These days, any nutrition aficionado will advise you to reduce sugar and carbs and warn you of their dreary tag-alongs, obesity and diabetes. But buried deep in health columns is something doctors have been saying for decades: high salt intake is just as bad.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “high sodium consumption raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death.”
Low-sodium salt is one option, but if you’ve ever tasted it, chances are you won’t have liked it. Trying its luck, Israeli company Salt of the Earth has come up with a new “salt” called Umamix, which is made of natural extracts, vegetable concentrates, and a little bit of Red Sea salt.
Cutting sodium intake in half, the product comes in liquid form, and its brown color is reminiscent of soy sauce. But like soy sauce, the blend is more expensive than regular sea salt: it is expected to cost $5-$9 per kilogram. Umamix is named after umami, the fifth taste (along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter).
According to Salt of the Earth, a can of tuna contains 350-450 mg of sodium; with Umamix, you can reduce it by 29 percent, without sacrificing the flavor. In other foods, the reduction is even greater: the company’s tests on hamburgers showed a 45 percent reduction – which means almost cutting sodium intake in half; and mayonnaise spiced with Umamix has 31 percent less sodium.
“Salt is necessary for life, of course, but most of us consume twice the recommended maximum level and that is a big problem,” Revital Ben Shachar, marketing manager for Salt of the Earth, tells NoCamels.
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Adding a savory flavor
Salt of the Earth, established in 1922 with headquarters in Atlit, Israel, produces salt from the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The company is Israel’s main salt manufacturer, and exports to 30 countries worldwide. With Umamix, the company seeks to capitalize on the demand for healthy alternatives.
Salt of the Earth says it is collaborating with several organizations to introduce its new product to the market: Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; the Chopping Block Culinary School in Chicago; Israeli hospitals and bakeries; and giant food manufacturer General Mills. For now, the condiment is not available to consumers.
“We want to build a strong foothold [in the food service industry] in order to be able to show the validation of the product and its different applications,” Dror Levy, the company’s retail export manager, tells NoCamels.
“In several taste panels we have conducted, many people actually preferred Umamix to the regular salt,” Levy says.
Whether you like the taste of Umamix or not, one thing is certain: Reducing sodium intake will benefit your health!
Photos: Salt of the Earth