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Staying healthy admist COVID-19

In these uncertain times, Singapore’s initiative of Working from home (WFH), Stay home notice (SHN), and Leave of absence (LOA) scheme, has left many isolated in the comfort of their own homes. The Covid-19 situation has sparked ‘panic buying’ of home necessities with many Singaporeans worrying about a complete lockdown should the figures increase exponentially. Additionally, Singaporeans are also stocking up on food such as instant noodles to minimise contact or interaction with the public when eating out. It is also times like these when people feel the sudden importance of health but somehow overlook the negative effects of food like instant noodles that contain so much monosodium glutamate (MSG) and preservatives.

Since many Singaporeans are currently working from home, preparation of meals ought to be as effortless as possible. However, majority of these people are seeking the convenience provided by instant food. As far as the health of these people is concerned, it is not advisable to be consuming large portions of MSG and additives found in instant food. A couple of suggestions to reduce or eliminate the MSG intake is to either halve the MSG usage, or completely not add it all. Although MSG is the component that enhances the flavour of food, there are many safe and natural alternatives to give your food equally or more flavour than before.

Natural flavour enhancers exist in many forms such as whole food, powder, and liquid. Powdered flavour enhancer is the most effective as it is already broken down to smaller pieces for the flavour to diffuse quicker and more substantially into foods. The more common savoury and nutritious food powders are ikan bilis (Anchovies) and scallop powder. Rich in calcium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, Ikan Bilis powder is by far the most popular flavour enhancer used in many dishes, and consumed by many age group. From babies to elderlies, ikan bilis powder provides the required nutritions and umami flavour, and suitable for individuals without biting capabilities. A common use of ikan bilis powder is in “Yong Tau Foo” soup or basically any dish that requires that extra flavour.

Scallop on the hand tends to be referred as a premium seafood. While it is not wrong, it is also packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and several other trace minerals. The deal breaker for scallop powder is however the sweetness of the scallop. For the premium price that one is paying, it definitely comes with an uncoparable premium flavour that is light and delightful on the palates.

Stay strong, stay vigilent, and stay healthy, Singapore.

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