The global dietary salt intake is currently at 9 to 12g a day, a far cry from the World Health Organization‘s recommended salt intake of 5g a day. A daily intake of 5g of salt is equivalent to 2000mg of sodium. Countries like China, England, Singapore, and the United States have a national salt intake of 9g each day.
Too much salt has been known to cause ailments such as hypertension. However, that does not mean it should be avoided completely as it contributes to an essential element in one’s diet — sodium. Sodium helps to maintain muscles in good working condition and keeps the body’s fluids balanced.
There is a tendency to overlook the sodium content in condiments, sauces, and seasonings when cooking a dish, as shared by the director of Nanyang Technological University’s Food Science and Technology Programme, William Chen. This results in high levels of sodium across many dishes. The increased trend in eating out means there is a lesser chance of people paying attention to the actual sodium level in their dish.
Even if people cook more instead of eating out, their daily salt consumption may not necessarily reduce when they do not measure the cumulative amount of sodium used in a dish. For example, in a typical local home-cooked dish such as Mee Goreng (Stir-Fried Noodles), the overall sodium content for the dish is 1890mg. If one consumes that for both lunch and dinner, it will definitely exceed the daily recommended intake of 2000mg!
A helpful tip on reducing your sodium intake is to flavour your food by using a salt-free herb and spice mix instead of salt. The following recipe is shared by Cigna:-
Mix the following dried herbs and spices together, and put them in a shaker:
– 2 tbsp dried minced onion
– 2 tbsp garlic powder
– 1 tbsp paprika
– 1½ tsp dried thyme
– ¼ tsp black pepper
Of course, exercising is also a good way to lose sodium through your perspiration. As always, the key to a healthy lifestyle is to strike a balance in your diet and exercise.