Japanese eat less food, less junk food, less sugar, less fat and less animal protein in general than the people who live in other developed countries. Japanese cuisine uses many vegetables and fish, and small amount of meat. But Japanese food in general contains a lot of salt. As a result, the Japanese suffered fewer heart attacks than Americans, but more strokes.
The danger of salt afflicted in Japanese life has been sited in numerous occasions, and here are some of the measures you can take, if you eat Japanese food frequently. Let’s take less salt in Japanese food.
- Choose a lower sodium soy sauce or miso paste
There are lower sodium items readily available in the market. Kikkoman has a “less sodium soy sauce,” and many miso paste makers sell a “less sodium miso paste.” Most of the lower sodium and regular sodium products don’t have any significant flavor differences.
- Cook at home
Pre-packaged or prepared food tend to contain more salt. Instant noodles, or cup noodles are also loaded with salt. Try to avoid eating them as much as possible, and cook on your own.
- Use dashi effectively
Dashi contains a strong umami flavor, which gives sensory satisfaction. If you use dashi effectively during food preparation, you can cut down significant amount of salt without feeling any palatable deprivation. It is known that the Japanese in the western part of Japan use dashi a lot, and they ingest a smaller amount of salt. Some Japanese housewives make dashi in larger quantities ahead of time, and freeze in ice cube tray. Once dashi ice cubes are frozen, pop them out of the tray, and keep them in a ziploc bags in a freezer. Frozen dashi is good about 3 weeks. Also stay away from granulated dashi if you can, as it contains lots of sodium and MSG.
- Eat miso soup, but don’t drink the soup
Miso soup is an integral part of the Japanese meal. However, if you drink the whole soup, you might take more salt than you want. Eat only the ingredients of miso soup, and leave the soup.
Japanese food can be very healthy. But be careful of how much sodium you take from food, and manage your health.