Salty Licorice: Is It Good For You? All You Need To Know

Written by Tricia Thompson
Published On
Salty Licorice Uses

Hey there, Licorice enthusiasts!

Licorice is an extremely popular treat in the Nordic region. This beloved delight is a beloved delicacy in North Atlantic and Northern Europe, notably Finland, Scandinavia, Denmark, and other Dutch regions. Although in different parts of the world, the sweeter version of Licorice is enjoyed, however in Norden, Salty Licorice tops the chart of popularity. It isn’t a new treat but has been tantalizing the taste buds for generations. Probably, you and my grandparents would have savored it.

But, the question that is confusing people like you and me across the internet is: “Is Salty Licorice good for you”? Come, let’s find out.

What is Salty Licorice? Explore It’s Health Effects!

Benefits Of Eating Salty Licorice

Salty Licorice is a unique variety of Licorice candy known for its distinctive sweet, salty, and slightly tangy flavor. It is also known as salted licorice or salmiakki and is available in a black diamond-shaped lozenge. 

While the traditional Licorice has a sweet profile, this salty version has a salty and savory kick due to the presence of ammonium chloride. The candy is flavored with ammonium in salt form. The inclusion of this colorless, toxic chemical adds to the salty taste and bold and intense flavor profile. You may find it in various forms, from chewy to hard candies.

Is Salty Licorice Good For You?

Salty Licorice, like any treat, is good for you as long as you consume it in moderation. Although its unique and satisfying flavor profile is enjoyable, it is essential to be mindful of the ingredients, particularly ammonium chloride.

Ammonium chloride, the chemical responsible for its salty taste, is generally safe, although only when consumed in moderation. Its excessive intake may cause risks, especially if you are dealing with health complications like kidney disorders, hypertension, or more. Therefore, enjoy salmiakki only to savor its unique taste and keep a check on a balanced diet.

What is Licorice Salt Used For?

Licorice salt or salmiak/ salmiac has versatile usage beyond its role in adding a savory taste too salty licorice. Besides its usage in confectionary, you can easily find it labeled as an ingredient in various culinary and non-culinary products.

In the culinary world, this versatile salt comes in handy as a seasoning agent, particularly for foods that require a salty and tangy kick. Besides that, it is also used for adding umami flavor to salty dishes. Chefs, particularly in Northern European cuisine, often use it in specific recipes to enhance the complexity of flavors. You can also find it a taste enhancer in pickled dishes, sauces, and meat.

Salmiak has a historical significance outside the kitchen and is deeply rooted in traditional medicine usage. Certain cultures use ammonium chloride as a cough medicine to help reduce respiratory challenges. However, the medical usage isn’t scientifically proven; thus, I would advise you to refrain from following them.

Is it OK to eat Licorice every day?

Occasional indulgence in traditionally sweet or salty licorice is generally safe; however, making it an everyday habit isn’t recommended. 

The salty version, or salmiakki, contains ammonium chloride, which, if consumed excessively, may cause health risks. Consuming it regularly daily can increase your blood pressure levels and may cause electrolyte imbalance.

Whereas the sweeter version lacks the chemical, however, if consumed daily it too poses concerns. Its high sugar content can cause weight gain, tooth decay, and a rise in blood sugar if consumed.

However, apart from these factory variants, the original root version does offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. There are numerous health benefits, from resolving respiratory issues to reducing digestive problems and soothing the throat. Yet, consuming it in large amounts for an extended period can cause health issues.

What are the health benefits of eating salty licorice?

  • Potential Inflammatory Properties: Licorice contains an anti-inflammatory compound called glycyrrhizin. This compound is known for its ability to modulate anti-inflammatory responses in certain health conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal Support: Traditionally, the roots of licorice have been used to soothe heartburn, indigestion, and other similar issues.
  • Respiratory Support: Licorice possesses mild expectorant properties, which may prove beneficial for conditions like cough and cold.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Licorice is an antioxidant and may help combat oxidative stress, thus improving cellular health.

Also Check:- What Is Terminal Ileum: Anatomy And Function

Who should not eat licorice? Potential Side Effects

  • Individuals dealing with hypertension should avoid consuming licorice, especially in high amounts. This is not only due to salt content but also because the presence of glycyrrhizin can elevate blood pressure.
  • Consuming excessive licorice during pregnancy can pose a risk to fetus development. Elements like glycyrrhizin can affect cortisol levels and thus are risky for pregnant women.
  • Avoid licorice if you have kidney stones, as it can impact electrolyte balance. It can be particularly harmful for those with pre-existing kidney problems.
  • Licorice can interact with medicines; thus, consult your healthcare professional if you are on any.

How much licorice is safe per day?

As per guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO), consuming 100 mg/ per day of glycyrrhizin is considered safe for adults. The amount is equivalent to 60 to 70 grams of licorice. This WHO recommendation serves as a general guideline for sage consumption. However, your exact amount may vary depending on your age, health condition, tolerance levels, and other factors. Besides that, checking the product label and ingredients and consulting with a professional can help you determine the precise dosage.

Also Check:- What Are Hepatocytes: The Liver’s Main Functional Cells

Bottom Line

Overall, as we explored the world of salty licorice, wondering if it is good for you, the answer lies in a balanced approach. While it may allow you to enjoy a distinctive flavor, practicing moderation is crucial, mainly due to the high sodium content. Even with the traditionally sweet licorice, it is essential to keep a check on the amount and frequency of your consumption. 

Finally, the journey through this delectable delight leaves us with a mindful approach and an appreciation of culture. Lastly, it’s all about your and mine choices. So, what’s your take on this delectable delicacy?

Written by

Tricia Thompson

Tricia Thompson, MD, is a board-certified physician with over 15 years of experience practicing general medicine. She completed her medical training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she graduated top of her class. Dr. Thompson runs a private practice in Seattle, WA, where she specializes in providing comprehensive care for patients of all ages. With a dedication to continuing education, Dr. Thompson regularly attends medical conferences and reads peer-reviewed journals to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in treatments and technologies. She is a member of the American College of Physicians and is affiliated with multiple respected hospitals and medical centers.

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