Flavoring of sea salt with Mediterranean aromatic plants affects salty taste perception
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AbstractBackground: Salt (sodium chloride) is an essential component of daily food, crucial for many physiological processes. Due to health risks related to salt over consumption, considerable interest is devoted to strategies to reduce dietary salt intake. In this work we evaluated the sensory dimensions of sea salts flavored with Mediterranean aromatic plants with the aim to confirm the role of herbs/spices in the enhancement of salty perception and to validate the use of flavored salts as a strategy to reduce salt intake. To this goal we compared taste dimensions (pleasantness, intensity, and familiarity) of solutions obtained with salt and sea salts flavored with Mediterranean herbs, spices, and fruits. Sensorial differences were analyzed using a 7-point hedonic Likert-type scale on 58 non-trained judges. Results: Main flavor compounds, identified by GC-FID/MS analysis, were α-pinene and 1,8-cineole in myrtle salt (FS 1), verbenone, α-pinene, 1,8-cineole, and rosifoliol in herbs/plants salt (FS 2), and limonene in orange fruits/saffron salt (SF 3). At the dose of 0.04 g mL-1 , saline solutions obtained with flavored salt (containing approximately 6-30% less of NaCl) were perceived as more intense, less familiar, but equally pleasant than pure salt solution. In particular, sea salt flavored with orange fruits/saffron emerged as the most interesting in potentiating saltiness perception. Conclusion: Our study confirmed the important role of Mediterranean aromatic plants in the enhancement of saltiness perception and qualified the use of flavored sea salt during food preparation/cooking instead of normal salt as a potential strategy to reduce the daily salt intake. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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