What's your definition of "a pinch" when salt is indicated in a recipe? Salt is essential for good health, but how much do we need? Read through the article to find out.
High salt intake is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke. The scientific term for salt is sodium chloride. Excess sodium intake causes our body to retain water, leading to an increase in blood volume. This results in elevated blood pressure (high blood pressure). Sodium can also be found in other foods such as baking soda, MSG as well as soy sauce.
Salt is usually found in these categories:
A. Products added with salt
- Salted eggs, fish, vegetables
- Paste (steamboat soup paste, instant laksa paste, pre-mix sauces) - Potato chips and salted nuts - Salted butter
B. Canned food
- Canned soups (mushroom, minestrone) - Canned meat (luncheon meat, minced pork) - Canned vegetables (baked beans, green beans, corn)
C. Processed or preserved food
- Sausages - Ham - Nuggets - Preserved vegetables (ginger, garlic, cai sim) - Preserved plums (sour plum) - Instant noodle seasonings - Dried shrimps - Ikan Bilis - Smoked products (duck, bonito flakes)
D. Bottled sauces
- Chilli sauce - Tomato sauce
- Sambals - Oyster sauce - Soy sauce
Ways to reduce salt intake: 1. Taste food first. Use salt or sauces only if needed 2. Use natural ingredients for seasoning. Instead of using salt or other high sodium condiments (e.g. soya sauce, oyster sauce, chilli sauce, tomato paste, etc.), choose natural ingredients such as white or black pepper, onion, garlic, lemongrass, curry leaves, lime, lemon, spring onion, ginger, parsley, mint, chives, curry or chilli powder, paprika, ginger, five-spice and mixed herbs.
3. Ask for less sauce and gravy. When eating out, request less sauce or gravy to add to your food. Avoid dipping excessive condiments.
4. Choose fresh over processed food. Always choose fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fresh meat instead of processed items.
5. Choose products with less added salt. Avoid choosing preserved food, smoked food and cured meat.
An average healthy adult requires not more than 2000mg of sodium intake a day. That's equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt. Studies have shown that Malaysians and Singaporeans consume a lot more salt than their bodies require. Have you been consuming more salt than you need? Try out the tips above and we hope you will find this information helpful and achievable.
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