Low-sodium Chinese Foods

Cooking of vegetables
Stir-fried vegetables in a big pan. (Image: kazoka30/iStock/Getty Images)

Many people enjoy staple Chinese food dishes like fried rice, wonton soup and beef and broccoli. Unfortunately, many of the most popular Chinese foods are loaded with sodium. If you suffer from high blood pressure or just want to cut back on the sodium in your diet, be glad to know that several healthy low-sodium Chinese foods are available from which to choose.

Stir-fried Vegetables

Stir-fried vegetables are a staple in Chinese cooking. In addition to being a crunchy and colorful side dish, stir-fried vegetables tend to be lower in sodium than many Chinese dishes, as less sauce is used in the preparation process. When ordering your vegetables, ask to have the cook use minimal soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce while preparing your dish. Vegetables commonly found in Chinese cooking, such as broccoli and bell peppers, are also rich in the mineral potassium. Consuming potassium-rich foods as part of a heart-healthy diet can aid in blood-pressure control.

Steamed Rice

Steamed rice is a lower-sodium alternative to other starchy Chinese dishes like fried rice or fried noodles. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a 1/2-cup serving of steamed white rice contains only 4 mg of sodium -- less than 1 percent of the recommended 2400 mg per day. To make steamed rice even healthier, use whole-grain brown rice, which contains significantly more dietary fiber and vitamins than white rice.

Steamed Tofu

Steamed tofu is a Cantonese classic that's significantly lower in sodium than deep-fried or stir-fried tofu. To keep this dish low in sodium, avoid dipping it into the soy sauce that often accompanies it at Chinese restaurants. Tofu is a naturally low-fat source of complete vegetarian protein. Regularly consuming soy products such as tofu can reduce blood pressure and significantly increase "good" high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, according to the United Soybean Board.

Dumplings

Dumplings are delightful chewy appetizers that are significantly lower in sodium than fried wontons. Choose steamed dumplings with vegetables or fish, as they contain less fat than the fried variety containing pork or beef. The American Heart Association recommends steamed dumplings as a heart-healthy choice at Chinese restaurants.

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