MARCH 9 — I would like to respond to an article published on Malay Mail on March 3, 2021, entitled “Nutrition labels must include sodium content from July 2022, says deputy health minister”.
Most of us try to ask for ‘kurang manis’ in an attempt to be healthy, but studies show that ‘kurang masin’ is just as important to reduce hypertension, heart diseases and strokes.
This week is World Salt Awareness Week, where we aim to increase awareness on the effects of salt on health. This year’s theme is “More flavour, less salt”. Malaysians take almost twice the amount of recommended salt intake, which is 5g daily.
However, measuring the actual amount of salt intake in a day is not as simple as measuring the blood pressure or blood sugar. The total sodium intake, which is one of the main components of salt, can be measured via 24-hour urine sodium analysis. The 24 -hour urine analysis is considered the “gold standard”, or method used by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to estimate sodium intake in a population. However, this test is not performed routinely given its slightly complicated procedure.
This week is World Salt Awareness Week, where we aim to increase awareness on the effects of salt on health. This year’s theme is ‘More flavour, less salt’. — AFP pic
So, what can we do to reduce salt intake? As a mother who prepares meals for my family, I choose to practice 3 main tips in reducing salt intake when making choices in food selection, while cooking and while eating.
When buying food, reading food labels and comparing nutritional information is very important. Foods labelled low sodium, very low sodium, and reduced sodium is my choice.
When cooking, I prioritise the use of natural flavours such as lemon juice, lemongrass, coriander leaves and powder, cumin, black pepper, and others to enhance the natural taste of cooking and reduce the use of salt and sauces. Salt is the last ingredient I include when cooking. I taste my food first and salt later.
I try to reduce eating out especially during the current Covid-19 pandemic situation. If I need to order food online, I make it a point to ask for less salty dishes.
It may be difficult to change the way we choose and prepare our food suddenly, but here is another tip. Gradual change in food selection and preparation can help our taste buds adapt better to savoury but less salty food.
For those with small children, do not expose them with flavour enhancers, sauces, soy sauce and so on. Prepare low -salt, low sugar but nutritionally dense food for them to enjoy and with hope that they will continue this habit into adulthood.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.
This article was published in the Malay Mail on 9th March 2021. The link can be found below.