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How to cook healthier Chinese cuisine (2 of 4) - Salts

health nutrition Aug 03, 2018

Hello. Welcome to Foolish Insights. We are the Foolish Couple, Andrew and Minna, nutrition coaches and success mentors. We created FoCo Academy to guide and mentor people like you to achieve true health and healthy relationships through nutrition, exercise, mindset and lifestyle changes.

This week we are talking about simple things we can do to tweak the Chinese way of eating and cooking for better optimal health.

Yesterday we talked about cooking oils and how it can cause inflammation and a lot of health problems, and what kinds of oils you should be using to cook with. 

Today, our topic is salt.

Salt is a very simple substance and it is made up of a chemical bond of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Sodium is a crucial electrolyte in our bodies. Many foods naturally contain small amounts of sodium, but most of the sodium in our diet comes from salt.

Sodium binds water and maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. It is also an electrically charged molecule, and along with potassium helps maintain electrical gradients across cell membranes, which is critical for nerve transmission, muscular contraction, and various other functions.

The more sodium we have in our bloodstream, the more water it binds. Therefore too much salt in our diet can sometimes raise our blood pressure, which is a risk for heart attack, stroke and Kidney failure.

Chinese cooking uses a lot of salt. I know my mom puts salt into everything she cooked.

Our family friends nicknamed her“Saltyfish mom” because she used so much salt in her cooking.

After all, salt is what makes things tasty. Without salt, food tastes bland.

But now we know that having too much salt in our bodies can be dangerous.

The major health organizations recommend that we cut back on sodium. But different organizations seem to have different guidelines:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.
  • American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.

The consensus seems to be around 1500-2300 mg.

 How much is that exactly? It is about 3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon daily. 

On average, a typical person takes in about 3400mg of salt which is way more then the recommended value. And our salt comes from not only cooking with salt but also from many hidden sources of salt that we are unaware of, mostly coming from highly processed foods we eat.

But for Chinese cooking we have to be even more careful because Chinese cooking tends to use a lot of different sauces such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and there is salt in pretty much all the sauces that we use to season our dishes. 

 What do we suggest? 

As we always say, eat real foods, not processed foods. Try not to pre-season your foods with salt or cook with salt. Add salt at the end to taste before serving. 

Also, rather than using regular table salt which may have added chemicals that prevents it from caking together, you can use healthier alternatives such as pink Himalayan salts because their salt crystals are actually quite a bit larger then regular table salt. So 1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt would only be 2000 mg, but 1 teaspoon of regular table salt has 2300mg.

Pink Himalayan salts also have a lot of other health benefits because it has up to 84 different minerals and trace elements. Some of pink Himalayan salt's commonly promoted health claims includes:

  • Improve respiratory diseases
  • Balance your body's pH
  • Reduce signs of aging
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Increase libido

Not all these claims are scientifically proven, but another great reason to use Pink Himalayan Salts is not just for cooking. We also use Pink Himalayan salts in our bath salts. We mix Pink Himalayan salts with epson salts which is great to use for baths because it soothes and relaxes your muscles and softens your skin!

Tomorrow we are going to show you how to make small changes to your breakfast routine.

To read Part 1 of this series, click here

Till Then, Love what you live and live what you love.

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The Foolish Couple are not doctors. This blog is not intended to diagnose medical condition, or replace your health care provider. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your personal physician before starting any fitness or exercise program or changing dietary habits. The content of this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services or counsel provided by medical professionals. However, we do hope to inspire you to become healthier, more self sufficient, and more aware of options.

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