Low Sodium Cooking Will Help You To Lose Weight

Sodium is an enemy for the dieter.

I talked about the danger of sugar in a past post. No matter how well you eat and exercise, you will NOT lose weight as long as you enjoy sugary food.

So I hope that you no longer eat sugary food. Still do not lose weight? Let’s look at the opposite side of sweetness, salt.

It is hard to imagine, but salt can be as dangerous as sugar and can harm your body.

How much salt is too much?

Just like you think about how many calories are in your food, you will need to concern yourself about how much sodium is in your food.

Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare recommends 2300 milligram of sodium per day. It is about one heaping teaspoon of salt.

Unfortunately, Japanese people are known to take too much sodium. Their traditional food contains a lot of sodium. For example, Japanese people consume salted fish, salted plums, pickles, miso soup, and so forth on a daily basis.

The Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. also recommends 2300 milligram of sodium.

American Heart Association is stricter about sodium intake. They recommend no more than 1500 milligrams.

Can you handle it? Let’s look at the processed food you eat. Cereal, bread, nuts, crackers, chips, ham, cheese and so forth. For example, one serving of chips (30 grams) has over 100 mg of sodium. A slice of cheese contain 220 mg of sodium.

Furthermore, you will be shocked to know that canned chicken noodle soup has over 900 mg of sodium per cup! Instant noodle has more than 1500 mg of sodium. It means that if you eat a cup of instant noodle, you cannot take any other sodium for the day.

I hope that you don’t eat much processed food. When you cook your own food, you use condiments. For example simple salt has 2300 mg per teaspoon and soy sauce about 300 mg per teaspoon. Even ketchup has 160 mg of sodium per tablespoon. You will be surprised how quickly sodium intake adds up to beyond the recommendation.

What happens if you take too much sodium?

Sodium will make your body swelling.

When you eat salty food, you get thirsty. It is because your cells want liquid. Our inner cell is made out of potassium and the outer cell is made of sodium. The cells are trying to equalize salinity. This is called osmotic pressure.

If you eat salty food, outer cell liquid will increase salinity. Then, intracellular fluid was drawn to dilute the increased salinity.

This is because potassium and sodium will be stabilized to maintain 0.85% salinity. For example, you sprinkle salt over meats and vegetables, liquids will come out. This is what exactly is happening in the body.

The more water you drink, more you hold liquids in the body. Therefore, your body will be swelling.

Just so you know, drinking water is very important. But because of sodium, your body will try to store water.

Swelling of your body will take it to the next level.

There is a relationship between swelling and lymph nodes. The liquid oozing from blood capillaries will partially flow to vein and partially to lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes will carry oxygen and nutrients as well as collect body waste. If it does not flow smoothly, the metabolism is affected negatively.

Swelling makes your body get cellulite which is fat mass, body waste, and fluids. When you are in this condition, you cannot turn food into energy. Therefore, you will store fat in the body and will be prone to gain weight!

If you feel your shoes become tight or your calf is swelling in the afternoon, you may be having a chronical swelling problem.

Salt is addictive just like sugar.

Once you get used to eat salty food, you will not feel saltiness. Or you even want to eat more salty food. It is a vicious cycle!

That is not all. Salty food will make you eat more. For example, if you eat salty meat, you want to eat more rice or bread. When salinity goes up, more digestive fluids will be secreted to dilute salinity. This will increase your appetite!

Bad things will continue. Too much salt causes constipation. Intestinal muscle becomes weaker if you lose the balance of potassium and sodium. Your intestines do not work. Constipation will worsen the condition of your body. More fat and toxin are stored in the body. The metabolism will slow down even more!

Food you want to avoid.

You may choose non-oil salad dressing over regular salad dressing to control your calories. Typically, non-oil salad dressing has more sodium than regular dressing. Creamy type of dressing tends to have less sodium than oil type. So be careful when you select your salad dressing.

Snacks such as chips and crackers contain way too much sodium. And they are high in calories. Also watch out for gluten free products. They tend to contain more sodium and sugar than regular products.

Ham, sausage, and bacon are salty by nature. It means that they contain too much sodium. That’s not it. They contain other bad stuff such as food additives, preservatives and MSG (monosodium glutamate)!

Low sodium cooking method

You may think that many whole foods are tasteless without sodium. First, you need to get out of salt addiction. You can reduce amount of salty condiments when you cook.

You can add accent to dish by adding these food and spices.

  • Mustard
  • Wasabi
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Dried sea vegetables
  • Curry powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Kombu (dried sea kelp)
  • Katsuobushi (Dried bonito flakes)
  • Pepper (black or white)

By Adding seeds and nuts, you will enjoy roasted flavor and crunchy texture. Be sure to use low sodium or unsalted nuts.

For soup, the key is to add depth to flavor. For example, dried bonito flakes or low sodium chicken broth will give soup a rich flavor. Adding more vegetables to soup will make less liquid with sodium. Also, add milk to enjoy creamy flavor over salty flavor.

Adding these vegetables will make your dish flavorful.

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Green onions
  • Grated daikon

Herbs will add nice aroma to a dish.

  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Thyme

Dried vegetables or mushroom have better flavor than fresh because they contain less water. For example, dried shitake mushroom, dried daikon, dried tomato, dried sea vegetables (nori, kombu), katsuobushi (dried bonito flake), and dried tofu are great options to help reduce sodium. Furthermore, dried vegetables are healthier than fresh!

Add good oil to a dish. For example, extra virgin olive oil and sesame oil will make the flavor rich.

Add lemon and vinegar. Sourness will give an accent to a dish. Once you get used to sourness, you will enjoy refreshing and simple taste.

Browning meats and fish will give roasted flavor.

Make one dish with good amount of sodium, and the other dish with less sodium to have accent in flavor. You will enjoy changing the palate.

Keeping temperature hot for hot food and cold for cold food. The method works well for low sodium food.

Buy good quality fresh meat and vegetables. You will enjoy the natural flavor without masking the flavor with salty condiments.

Eat more vegetable and fruit.

Dietary fiber will help to eliminate sodium from the body. Also, it absorbs and eliminates cholesterol from the body. It helps for constipation as well. Read more to learn about dietary fiber.

Potassium will eliminate excess sodium out of the body. It will help to relieve swelling and high blood pressure.

Ingredients that have good amount of potassium are:

  • Dried Daikon
  • Parsley
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Melons
  • Kiwi
  • Molokheiya
  • Japanese Mint
  • Edamame
  • Potato
  • Spinach
  • Sea Vegetables
  • Mushrooms

Use Good Salt

When you start your low sodium cooking, use naturally produced salt such as Himalayan pink salt. Rock salt is rich in minerals. Sea salt is good, but it has more sodium than rock salt. Do not use table salt because it is chemically produced and has more sodium than natural salt.

Other thing that you can do.

Keep moving and get sweat! This is another way to eliminate sodium from your body! Drinking plenty of water will help you more!

Finally, stay away from store made or restaurant made food, especially frozen food. They contain large amount of sodium to make food taste better. Cooking at home will let you control the amount of sodium. Let’s cook low sodium 500 calories set meal!

500 Calories Set Meal: Low Sodium Baked Panko Chicken

~Menu~

Main: Low Sodium Baked Panko (Bread Crumbs) Chicken
Side 1: Kiriboshi Daikon Salad (Dried Daikon Salad)
Side 2: Cubed Cantaloupe
Soup: Kiriboshi Daikon Soup (Dried Daikon Soup)
Okaka Gohan (Steamed Rice with dried bonito flakes)
Total
430 calories

All recipes are made for 2 servings. This printable recipe box will allow you to change the serving size to adjust the recipe.

 

low sodim baked panko chicken
Main: Low Sodium Baked Panko (Bread Crumbs) Chicken
149 calories

Chicken breast is always good ingredient for the dieter. Chicken breast is very low in calories and is a good source of protein. It only has one problem. Chicken breast is tasteless without salty condiments.

This recipe is very low sodium. Use a sprinkle of salt to remove excess water and use parmesan cheese to rub on the chicken. One teaspoon of parmesan cheese has only 40 mg of sodium. But it will bring a good flavor to white meat chicken.

Moreover, bread crumbs helps to hold the good flavor of parmesan cheese. And you will enjoy toasty flavor when bread crumbs get browned in the oven.

Finally, you have to give a good credit to curry powder. You will not feel like you are eating low sodium food!

low sodim baked panko chicken
Baked Panko (Bread Crumbs) Chicken
Print Recipe
149 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
low sodim baked panko chicken
Baked Panko (Bread Crumbs) Chicken
Print Recipe
149 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut meat to even thickness. Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper.
    low sodim baked panko chicken step (1)
  2. Mix bread crumbs, cheese, and curry powder.
    low sodim baked panko chicken step (2)
  3. Spread olive oil over meat. Then, coat the meat with the mixture.
    low sodim baked panko chicken step (3)
  4. Place in oven toaster. Bake at 200 C (400 F) for 10 minutes until it turns brown.
    low sodim baked panko chicken step (4)
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad dried daikon salad
Side 1: Kiriboshi Daikon Salad (Dried Daikon Salad)
68 calories

Dried daikon is a great option for the low sodium diet. Dried Daikon is rich in dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamins.

Thanks to the old Japanese people’s wisdom to store daikon harvested during winter. Daikon strips are sun dried so that umami (good flavor) and nutrients are concentrated by removing liquid from daikon.

All you need to do is to soak dried daikon in water for about 15 minutes before using. Do not throw away the water because it has potassium as well as umami (good flavor). You can use it for soup stock. Or just drink it!

Dried daikon is so handy for both low sodium and low calorie cooking. You will need to chew more to eat dried daikon. Therefore, it will make you full with smaller amount.

Dried daikon can be purchased at Japanese grocery stores.

low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad dried daikon salad
Kiriboshi Daikon Salad (Dried Daikon Salad)
Print Recipe
68 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad dried daikon salad
Kiriboshi Daikon Salad (Dried Daikon Salad)
Print Recipe
68 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Soak dried daikon in a cup of water for 15 minutes.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (1)
  2. Drain and keep the water for a soup recipe.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (2)
  3. Cut carrot into thin strips.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (3)
  4. Mix vinegar, oil, and honey in bowl.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (4)
  5. Add dried daikon, carrot and raisins to the bowl. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (5)
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low sodium cooking cantaloupe
Side 2: Cubed Cantaloupe
34 calories

Melons are called “the king of fruits” and are very expensive in Japan. The most expensive melon is musk melon. One musk melon will cost close to $100. I am serious! Japanese farmers get rid of multiple melons to grow only one perfect melon per plant. Therefore, the melon is concentrated with nutrients and sweetness.

I am glad that melons are not so expensive in the U.S. Melons are top class for potassium content in the fruit category. Cantaloupe has the largest amount of potassium among melons.

When you use sweet fruits like cantaloupe, eat the fruit between different dishes. The sweetness will help you to enjoy the low sodium dish.


low sodium kiriboshi daikon soup dried daikon soup
Soup: Kiriboshi-Daikon Soup (Dried Daikon Soup)
19 calories

Dried daikon is a good candidate for soup. By soaking it in water, it makes great broth. I highly recommend to use the broth to make soup. Let’s drink potassium rich soup, and get rid of excess sodium from your body!

Just so you know, you do not need to cook dried daikon. Bringing to a boil is good enough.

low sodium kiriboshi daikon soup dried daikon soup
Kiriboshi-Daikon Soup (Dried Daikon Soup)
Print Recipe
17 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minues
low sodium kiriboshi daikon soup dried daikon soup
Kiriboshi-Daikon Soup (Dried Daikon Soup)
Print Recipe
17 calories
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minues
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minues
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Soak dried daikon in a cup of water for 15 minutes.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon salad step (1)
  2. Bring to boil the soup stock from dried daikon in pot. Add chicken bouillon or base to the pot.
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon soup step (1)
  3. Add the soaked dried daikon to the pot. Add salt & pepper to taste
    low sodium kiriboshi daikon soup step (2)
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

low sodium cooking okaka gohan steamed rice bonito flake
100g Okaka Gohan (Steamed Rice with dried bonito flakes)
160 calories

Sprinkle some katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes) on steamed white rice. It is called Oka-ka Gohan.

Sprinkle topping over steamed white rice is very common thing to do for Japanese people. You can even buy a dried mixed seasoning ( called Furikake) containing dried bonito flakes, roasted sesame seeds, dried seaweed, dried scramble eggs, and so forth.

Unfortunately, those products contain way too much sodium and sugar. And you will quickly consume a bowl of rice. It is double jeopardy!

Simple umami (good flavor) from dried bonito flakes will satisfy you to eat the low sodium 500 calories set meal.

Each 500 calories set meal comes with 100g of steamed rice. You will need to cook rice in a rice cooker or in a heavy gage pot. And measure cooked rice for 100 grams. I will show you how to make your cooking life easier. Read more How To Cook And Store Japanese Rice.

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