10 Tips To Reduce Salt In Eastern Asian Diets
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Are you at risk for hypertension?

Lowering Your Sodium Intake in East Asian Dishes Image

By Mimi Huang, BSc. 

Reviewed by Amy Yiu, B.Sc., RD  

What is the guideline/recommendation?  

Sodium plays important roles in the body, so 1500 mg sodium (3 mg salt) is needed per day for healthy adults. People with hypertension should eat less than 2000 mg (4 mg salt) per day 

Most Canadians consume 3400 mg of sodium per day, so decreasing sodium intake is recommended for healthy people as well as people with hypertension and/or diabetes. 

These are other contributing factors and recommendations: 

Sodium content in Eastern Asian diets 

  1. Cooking Sauces (e.g., soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, black bean sauce, fish sauce)  
    • Note: low sodium (e.g., low sodium soy sauce) refers to the lower sodium version of the regular product, so the product may still contain lots of sodium. Eat less of the foods that contain more than 15% daily value sodium per serving.  
  2. Ultra-processed foods (e.g., chips and crackers, breads, instant noodles, preserved vegetables or meats, canned soups)  
  3. Salty prepared foods (e.g., BBQ pork, marinated tofu, fermented foods)  
  4. Foods with “hidden” salt (e.g., breads, noodles) 
  5. Eating out (e.g., restaurants, fast food, parties, and sometimes relatives’ homes!) 

Note: there is no difference between table salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and pink/Himalayan salt in terms of sodium content and impact on health.  

How to reduce salt intake

Strategies to reduce salt in your diet 

The body retains most of the sodium from foods. The most effective way to reduce the body’s sodium levels is by eating less salt.  

  1. Buy fresh produce from farmers’ markets if available or grocery stores. Fresh, local produce is more delicious, less bitter, and more nutritious, so no extra salt is needed to add flavour.  
    • Find out what is in season where you’re from (BC and Alberta) 
    • Find farms near you.  
    • Grow your own vegetable garden. 
    • Choose baby vegetables (e.g., yu choy, gai lan, yukon gold potatoes) for sweetness and pleasant mouthfeel. 
  2. Buy frozen or canned foods that are out of season (e.g., peas, corn, carrots, tomatoes). Frozen and canned foods are picked at peak ripeness, so they are often healthier and more delicious than imported produce. 
  3. Use food labels to choose options lower in sodium. Less than 5% is a little, while more than 15% is a lot. 
  4. Buy fewer snacks. Eat a few hours before grocery shopping to avoid impulse shopping. Start by buying half of what you usually buy or only your favourite snacks. Alternatively, stop buying snacks so you can slowly finish what is already at home. 
  5. Use less sauce or salt when cooking. If you regularly eat salty foods, the sodium receptors on your taste buds likely become less sensitive to sodium. Allow your taste bud receptors to reset by reducing or cutting salt from your cooking for 10 days.  
    • Examples: 
      • Cook noodles without salt 
      • Only add salt at the end of cooking if needed.  
      • Prepare soups without salt.  
      • Add flavour using herbs and spices, garlic, onion, or lemon/lime. 
  6. Choose less processed versions of foods you enjoy. Experiment with recipes that do not require lots of salt to be satisfying. 
    • Examples: 
      • Firm tofu for soups and stir fries.  
      • Baby potatoes for roasting or stir frying. 
      • Raw chicken breast for air frying or baking. 
      • Try different herbal soup recipes. 
  7. When eating out, choose less salty options and balance with no-sodium foods 
    • Examples: 
      • Steamed yu choy with congee instead of siu mai.  
      • Cup of tea or soy milk with buns instead of salty soups.  
      • Salad with a burger instead of fries.
  8. Incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet. Instead of snacking on chips or sweets, prepare your favourite vegetables and fruits. Do not skip meals and eat meals at the same times every day to avoid snacking in between meals. 
  9. Drink more water. Keep water nearby so you can easily drink water whenever you feel thirsty. 
  10. Be open to having salty foods sometimes. You can only control so much in life, so enjoy salty foods sometimes. After all, the goal is to eat less salt overall not cut it out completely.

Prevention is the best strategy to protect yourself from disease and allow you to live a long and satisfying life.  

  • Eat a balanced diet with variety and check nutrition fact labels. Avoid food that contains more than 15% daily value sodium per serving. 
  • Achieve a healthier weight (or personal best weight).  
  • Self-monitor your blood pressure and sodium intake regularly, especially if you have hypertension.  
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle that minimizes stress and prioritizes healthy eating, regular exercise, and good sleep.  

Looking for more support with healthy eating for Hypertension prevention?

Don’t go through this journey alone, reach out to one of our Dietitians for support to have all the keys to success! 

Find the right Hypertension Dietitian for you to help prevent chronic illness by contacting us today!

Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter to never miss out on any tips, advice, and recipes!

Check out these related blogs on our website:  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This