Throughout history, the world has used salt to preserve meat and make dishes tastier. It remains a valuable mineral and can be found in all cuisines. For instance, in the Philippines, the majority of delicacies are made richer with sodium-rich condiments or sawsawan (dips) like patis (fish sauce) and bagoong (fish paste).
However, excessive intake of sodium has been found to be one of the risk factors for non-communicable illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.
“With the risks that come with excessive sodium intake, it is recommended that we reduce our salt consumption,” says Deborah Sales, Ajinomoto’s Science Communication Executive. “While it may seem difficult to maintain the palatability of dishes as we cut salt, there is an ingredient that allows us not only to boost the flavor of your favorite dish, but also lessen the need for salt.”
The use of monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is often mistaken to be high in sodium, is actually an effective means of reducing the sodium level of low-salted dishes since it only contains 1/3 the amount of sodium as table salt. Table salt contains 39 percent while MSG only contains 12 percent
In fact, extensive scientific research has revealed that MSG can boost the flavor of dishes while reducing sodium content by up to 40%. Only a small amount is needed to enhance the taste, as the additive has a self-limiting characteristic, which means that adding MSG can actually make healthy eating more enjoyable even with reduced salt.
“It is challenging to lead a healthy lifestyle while we are mostly at home due to the quarantine. However, Ajinomoto believes that a few easy adjustments in the kitchen, together with healthy eating habits, adequate exercise and rest, can lead to overall health,” adds Sales.