How can a center make meals more appealing for decreased taste, digestion, and metabolism when salt is contraindicated? Natural solutions are right under a chef’s nose. The following flavor enhancers not only keep food from being bland; they’re also good for senior health:

■ Healthy oils, such as olive and coconut

■ Vinegars, such as apple cider and flavored vinegars, like raspberry
■ Onions

■ Seaweeds: kombu, wakame, and arame provide healthy sea salt (distinct from table salt) and add flavor to soups, stews, and grain dishes

■ Herbs and spices: thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and turmeric—the latter is also a useful digestive aid.

Whole, fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, protein (poultry, fish, eggs, lean grass-fed meats), and dairy products (for those who are lactose-tolerant) can all be quite tasty with some of these aromatic seasonings.

Processed and refined foods, while they may be tempting to dulled taste buds, contain empty calories, so although they may satisfy emotionally they are detrimental to a healthy senior nutrition program.