Can I add salt to my confinement herbs?
For many of us, it can be tempting to add a "pinch" of salt to our dishes during cooking or as a seasoning at the table, but most of us know that too much salt in our diet is bad for us even when we feel we are fit and healthy.
In fact, in Singapore, the average adult consumes 9g of salt per day...4g over the recommended 5g of salt daily.
And with this overconsumption and the concerns that arise from high salt consumption, it is right to think, "Should I reduce my salt consumption during my postpartum and confinement period?"...especially if you’re one of the 90% of Singaporeans who consume too much salt.
What issues can excess salt cause during my postpartum and confinement period?
The negative health effects of long term salt consumption are well known with high blood pressure being one of the main negatives which can lead to a whole host of health issues for your kidneys, heart, brain and arteries. You certainly want to avoid high blood pressure after childbirth.
A short term effect of high salt intake is water retention which leads to swelling of the feet, hands and face...and guess what...postpartum water retention (postpartum edema) is a thing, it is common and when mild, quite normal. High levels of sodium from salt can aggravate this swelling to make it worse for you.
Can I add a pinch of salt to my confinement soup?
Traditionally, according to TCM, salt is to be avoided by new mothers during their confinement period.
You may find some recipes online which call for a pinch of salt during cooking or as a seasoning. It may be that the person cooking your confinement herbs (eg, your confinement nanny, mother, sister, grandma...your partner if you’re super lucky!) who may want to add salt, perhaps out of habit and because they believe it will enhance the taste.
In our opinion, our soups taste great without any added salt. They taste clean, natural and nutritious without any additional salt.
We do not necessarily recommend that you add salt to your confinement herbs as you cook them or as you drink them...only because you don’t need to. Salt will not add any benefit to the herbs. It will only act as a flavour enhancer.
And, if you are concerned that your sodium intake may be too high or you want to negate high blood pressure or swelling, then you should avoid adding it to your soups.
Plus, do not forget that soy sauce contains high levels of sodium, so if you are consuming soy sauce with your meals, then you should not be adding salt to your soups.
However, if you are comfortable with your salt intake and you want to add a small amount to taste, then that is fine.
High salt and sodium intake is a real issue for Singaporeans, and when your body is recovering during your postpartum period you should avoid excess salt which can interfere with your body’s restoration process and cause discomfort at best and serious health problems at worst.
You do not need to add salt to your herbs, and if possible you should avoid it...but a small pinch is not likely to cause a problem if you are making sure you are not consuming too much salt and sodium from other sources.
Stay healthy xoxo
This article is not intended as medical advice. If you have any concerns around salt intake, pregnancy, nutrition or any other points mentioned in this article, please consult your physician.