Study titled “Malaysian Community Salt Study 2017/18” showed that the average salt intake per day among Malaysian is 7.9g or 1.6 teaspoons. Four out of five Malaysians consumed excessive salt which is above the level recommended by the World Health Organization (< 5g per day or equivalent to one teaspoon) (7).
A study showed that Malays had 21% higher odds of having pre-hypertension and 64% higher odds of having Stage 2 hypertension compared to the Chinese. The traditional cuisine of Asian people is well known to contain high amounts of salt. It has been widely used in fish fermentation, pickling, and the production of local Asian sauces. This result may related to high sodium intake among the ethnicity as previous research has established that excessive sodium intake leads to uncontrolled blood pressure among adults (1).
Sodium: what is the main dietary sources? (5,6,8)
Salt is the primary source of sodium however high sodium consumption is generally associated with health problems such as high blood pressure, fatal coronary heart disease or higher risk of incident of stroke.
Salt in the diet can obtain either from processed foods that are normally high in salt such as instant noodles, snack foods, sausage or added to food during cooking such as stock cubes or at the table such as soy sauce, fish sauce and table salt. Fried rice, omelette, fish cake, nasi lemak, thick soy sauce, tomato sauce, chilli sauce, oyster sauce, roti canai, meat soups and fried mee are also major source of sodium.
Sodium: How much is too much? (4, 8)
Read the Nutrition Facts Label! (5,6,8)
Nutrition facts label found on packaged or processed foods list the amount of sodium in each serving and be sure how many serving are in a package. Normally, sodium is found in most foods as sodium chloride (NaCl) generally known as salt. In addition to NaCl, sodium may also present in other forms, such as monosodium glutamate, baking soda, baking powder, disodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, sodium citrate, sodium benzoate and sodium alginate. However, sodium chloride (salt) is still the major source of sodium.
Tips for Cutting Back on Sodium (4,5,6,8)
Misconceptions about Salt Reduction
Go Low and Take it Slow! (2)
Reduce your salt intake gradually and your taste buds will adjust as our taste for salt is acquired. Consider using low salt or salt free flavour enhancers during cooking and reduce addition of salt or soy sauce at the table.
After a few weeks of cutting back on salt, you probably won’t miss it, and some foods may even taste too salty.