Minerals

Asian Sauces and Sodium

Sauces are part and parcel of Asian cuisines. From hoisin to teriyaki, sauces light up our tastebuds – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. That is why, there are countless ways as flavouring agents in soups, or marinades in meats, fish as well as vegetables. However, one major stumbling block would be the heaps of salt (sodium) they contribute.

Most Asian sauces are low in fat and calories. Thus, analysing the total calories that the dish offers, does not provide a fair overall picture.

“The average Singaporean adult consumes 9 grams of salt per day, which is more than the recommended daily intake of 5 grams (this is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt)”, quoted from Health Hub, Health Promotion Board Singapore (HPB).

Other than taste, sodium plays an important role in preserving food. High salt content would mean a longer shelf life even if products are stored unrefrigerated as moisture is being drawn out. Therefore, bacteria and other little pesky microbes would not be able to survive.

Now, let us dive a little deeper into how much Asian sauces we put in our dishes. A serving size would vary from 1 teaspoon (5ml) to 1 tablespoon (20ml). According to the food analysis data provided by HPB’s Energy and Nutrient Composition of Food, 1 serve size (1 tablespoon) of light soy sauce provides a whopping 859.35mg of sodium. That is already four-fifth of a teaspoon! If we study the total calories, it is only 8.5Kcal. And not to mention, fat is negligible as well.

Retrieved from https://focos.hpb.gov.sg/eservices/ENCF/FoodAnalysis.aspx?p=1

Fret not, there are ways to flavour your food.

#1. Use herbs and spices
Herbs and spices not only enhance flavours but also contributes negligible sodium. If swapping out table salt or sauces completely deem impossible, reduce amounts of them and factor in herbs and spices.

#2. Do not add on more table salt
Now, we know that sauces deliver a lot of sodium content, further adding table salt is unnecessary.

#3. Read and compare food labels
If you are comfortable reading food labels, check out the nutrition information label to compare ‘per 100g’ of similar sauce products to make a more informed decision.

Retrieved from Healthhub.sg

#4. ‘Lower in Sodium’ Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS)
If reading food labels is a challenge, look out for the ‘Lower in Sodium’ HCS logo for a healthier alternative and easy way out!

#5. Include food ingredients that contain naturally occurring MSG
Yes, in fact, on a daily basis, foods like tomatoes, cheeses, seaweed and even the yeast that is used to bake delicious loaves of bread contain naturally occurring MSG. While MSG is shamed by the public due to old wives’ tales and myths of hair loss etc., there is no scientific evidence pertaining to that. In fact, introducing MSG could significantly reduce the need to include more table salt or sauces.


Retrieved from https://focos.hpb.gov.sg/eservices/ENCF/FoodAnalysis.aspx?p=1

“C” all the health benefits “U” can get from copper

Although your body only needs a small amount of copper which is a type of trace mineral, copper is still an essential nutrient which plays an important role in your health.

Health Benefits

Healthy heart: Copper take part in the formation of collagen which helps to connect and support body tissue which results in strong strength and healthy function of heart. Insufficiency of copper intake might cause heart failure.

Improves immune and nervous system: Copper involved in maintaining the immune and nervous system which protects your body against the virus. Sufficient amount of copper in your body will improve your immune and nervous system.

Reduced risk of osteoporosis: Osteoporosis happened when bone density is low and become fragile. Copper contributes to the production of collagen which helps to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Support brain health: Copper is essential in maintaining nervous system and development of a healthy brain. Lack of copper in your body can worsen brain function and nervous system.

Great sources of copper:

  • Organs: beef liver, cod liver and chicken kidneys
  • Pure dark chocolate (unsweetened)
  • Seeds and nuts: cashew nuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
  • Lentils and beans: chickpeas, green peas and soya beans
  • Vegetable: potato, spinach and asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Milk and yoghurt
  • Seafood: lobster, squid and oyster

Symptoms of copper toxicity:

The recommended daily intake of copper for normal adult age above 19-year-olds is 900 mcg (approximately 2 small sizes of potatoes) for both male and female by the US Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). Too much intake of copper will cause the following symptoms:

  • Constant headache
  • Stomach-ache, diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Tiredness, no strength
  • Dizziness
  • Metallic flavour inside your mouth

Reference: Ods.od.nih.gov. 2021. Office of Dietary Supplements – Copper. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/

Listen to your body, it’s calling for Magnesium

Over 300 of different body enzyme functions require present of magnesium to complete body reactions. Magnesium is a mineral that can be found in a lot of natural food sources. Magnesium helps the control of nerve and muscle function, regulate blood glucose level and protein formation.

Natural sources of magnesium

  • Wholegrain foods: brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Dark green leafy vegetables: spinach
  • Almond, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans products: tofu
  • Peas and beans
  • Banana
  • Avocado

Benefits to health

Healthy bone: Body needs magnesium to produce new bone cells. Also, magnesium helps in the control of vitamin D and calcium levels which both are important nutrients for the formation of strong and healthy bones.

Prevention of diabetes: Magnesium is involved in regulating of blood glucose level and ensure proper function of insulin which lower the risks of diabetes.

Reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases: As magnesium helps in the control of muscle which including all heart functions like pumping of blood and heart beating. Sufficient amount of magnesium is linked to lower risks of heart diseases.

Treatment for migraines: Magnesium supplement can reduce symptoms of migraines headaches effectively.

Helps in Anti-inflammatory: Magnesium helps cut down on inflammatory indicator cells which prevent your body from inflammation.

Do you know?

Recommended daily intake of magnesium for normal adult age between 19 to 30 year-olds is 400mg for men and 310mg for women by the US Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).

Reference: Ods.od.nih.gov. 2020. Office Of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. [online] Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

Minerals: Go far with Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is essential for the human body to function healthily. Zinc cannot be produced by your body, you will need to obtain zinc from your daily diet.

Benefits of zinc to our health:

Healing of wound: Application of zinc medicine on wounded skin or skin rashes fasten the healing of the wound.

Lower risk of some age-related diseases: Zinc slower down vision loss and development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Regulate of the immune system: Zinc helps in stimulate cells which support the thyroid system, destroy of cancerous or unhealthy cells, blood clotting and more.

Treatment for the common cold: Zinc medicine effectively reduce the symptoms and length of the common cold.

Treatment for diarrhoea: Zinc supplement can help in cure and prevention of diarrhoea.

Foods rich in Zinc:

  • Seafood: lobster, clams, oyster and crab
  • Fish: salmon and sardines
  • Meat & poultry: chicken, pork, lamb, beef and turkey
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains: Brown rice and oatmeal
  • Vegetables: asparagus, kale and mushrooms
  • Nuts and seeds: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds
  • Black beans, lentils and chickpeas
  • Dairy-made foods: cheese and yoghurt

Do you know?

The recommended daily intake of zinc for normal adult age above 19-year-olds is 11mg for male and 8mg for female by the US Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).

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Reference: Ods.od.nih.gov. 2020. Office Of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. [online] Available at: <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/>

Bone To Be Wild? Then You Need Calcium!

Calcium is an important mineral that is essential to build up strong teeth and healthy bones. Calcium also helps in blood clotting and control nerves, muscle and heartbeat. However, too much calcium supplement will have side effects while too less of calcium intake will lead to deficiency and result in osteoporosis (weak & fragile bone).

Dietary sources of calcium intake:

  • Salmon, pilchard and sardine
  • Dairy-based products: cheese, yoghurt and milk
  • Green vegetables: spinach, watercress and broccoli
  • Soya milk with additional calcium
  • Fortified products: cereals, flour and fruit juices
  • Chia seeds, almonds and sesame

Do you know?

The recommended daily intake of calcium for normal adults age between 19 and 50-year-olds is 800mg (approximately 2 glass of 250ml of low-fat milk) by Health Promotion Board.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency:

  • Muscle cramp
  • Bones fracture easily
  • Numbness in your fingers, face and feet
  • Poor memory
  • Soft and breakable nails
  • Hallucinations

Too much of calcium will lead to:

  • Stomach-ache
  • Bone pain
  • Weak muscle
  • Kidney problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Tiredness

Subscribe to our health blog via the green tab on the left of our website so that you can stay updated to our fitness, nutrition tips and many more. We are now having our first health blog lucky draw event, subscribe to our health blog and tag 3 friends on our Food Canopy Pte Ltd Facebook page giveaway post to join, good luck!❤

Reference: Healthhub.sg.2020. Recommended Dietary Allowances Choose Beverages and Food with Less Sugar [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/192/recommended_dietary_allowances

Medicalnewstoday.com. 2020. Calcium: Health Benefits, Foods, And Deficiency. [online] Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248958> [Accessed 21 August 2020].

Iron: How to Avoid Iron Deficiency?

Iron is a kind of trace mineral that is very important for your body health as it helps to transport oxygen all over the body. Iron deficiency is caused by a low amount of iron inside the body and will lead to a low amount of normal red blood cells. How do you avoid yourself from iron deficiency?

Ensure a sufficient amount of iron from your meal

There are two main sources of iron, haem iron which is from animal-based food and non-haem iron which is from plant-based food. Haem iron are easier to absorb by your body than non-haem iron.

Canva - Steak Food (1)

Food that rich in haem iron:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Liver
  • Seafood (e.g. oysters, prawns, fish and clams)

Food that rich in non-haem iron:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice, whole-grain noodles
  • Dried fruit
  • Beans, nuts, seeds

Canva - Sliced Lemon Beside Vegetable on Brown Wooden Chopping Board

Having fruits that rich in vitamin C (e.g. oranges and papayas) with non-haem iron food will increase body absorption of haem iron. By doing this, vegans can maximise absorption of iron to reduce the risk of iron deficiency.

 

Reference: Healthhub.sg. (2020). Low In Energy? You Could Be Low In Iron [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1126/low-in-energy-you-could-be-low-in-iron

Nuts: Good or Bad for health?

Nuts

Nuts are great sources of minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. Also, nuts are rich in vitamins like folate and vitamin E. Nuts should be included in a well-balanced diet. Besides that, nuts consist of mostly unsaturated fats which enhance heart health through lower the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. Additionally, minerals, vitamins and fibre components in nuts will function together to enhance heart health.

Moderation intake of nuts

Although nuts have many benefits to health, they contribute high-calorie count. Thus, moderation intake of nuts with reducing high saturated fats foods (e.g. deep-fried food and cakes) intake will only bring benefits to your health. On the other hand, there are a lot of nuts choices in the market which are deep-fried with added sugar, seasoning or salt. Therefore, choose nuts with Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS), which no extra seasoning is added and contain a lesser amount of fat and salt.

 

Nuts1

Recommended serving size of nuts

Health Promotion Board recommends a cup with approximately 40g of nuts several times per week. By mixing different type of nuts will maximize the benefits to your health as different nuts consist of different minerals and vitamins.

Introduction to Minerals

Aside from vitamins, minerals are also micronutrients that are important for your body growth and to maintain your healthiness. Your body takes in minerals better through direct food intakes rather than in the form of supplements. Nearly all people do not demonstrate any symptoms of minerals inadequacy. However, this does not indicate your body are adequate of nutrients or minerals intakes. Your body needs different quantities of intake of each mineral as different mineral carry out different role. Physiological status, gender and age will affect the requirement of an individual for minerals intake. Excessive intake of minerals will lead to toxicity in your body. There are two common categories of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals.

Macrominerals

Macrominerals are minerals that require a high amount of intakes (from 100 mg to one gram) than other minerals. Magnesium, potassium, calcium, chloride, sodium and phosphorus are classified as macrominerals. Macrominerals like calcium are important for maintaining the strength of bone and development of bone.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are other minerals that your body needed in lesser amounts. Even though your body needs smaller quantities of trace minerals, trace minerals still play a crucial role in maintaining your body’s health. Copper, fluoride, iodine, selenium and zinc are categorized under trace minerals.

Reference: Nutrition in the News Facts behind the headlines Previous Facts behind the headlines BNF Consultation responses New reports Previous reports Diet, n., Diet, n., Ba, N., Nutrition Science Webinars Nutrients, s., Nutrients, F., Healthy, s. and events, C. (2019). Minerals and trace elements – British Nutrition Foundation – Page #1. [online] Nutrition.org.uk. Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/minerals-and-trace-elements.html?limit=1&start=1 [Accessed 16 Aug. 2019].