Umeboshi: How many should you eat a day?
“Umeboshi (梅干し)” is a traditional Japanese food made from “ume (梅)” plums pickled in salt.
The pickle is well-recognized in many countries, and nowadays, you can easily find it on online marketplaces like Amazon.
Despite being quite salty and sour, umeboshi is a good source of citric acid, known for having various health benefits, including
- removing fatigue,
- preventing hangover,
- promoting the salivation and helping with digestion and absorption of nutrients,
- suppressing the increase of blood glucose level after the meal,
- eliminating constipation,
- preventing gastric cancer and arteriosclerosis.
How many umeboshi per day?
As the old saying “1日1粒の梅干しで医者いらず (meaning: An umeboshi a day keeps the doctor away)” goes, if you eat a piece of umeboshi daily, you might really not need the doctor.
But why is it a piece a day?
The chances are the main reason lies in the salt content of umeboshi plums.
If you consume the right amount, the Japanese pickle will bring you many health benefits as seen in the context above.
But you have to keep in mind that the food contains lots of salt or sodium chloride.
How much salt does umeboshi contain?
While WHO recommends a salt intake of fewer than 5 grams per day to avoid cardiovascular diseases, the salt concentration of commercial umeboshi is generally 8-20 percent.
Specifically, based on this article on Olive Hitomawashi,
Umeboshi made only with salt contains about 2.4 g salt in large size (12 g) and 0.4-0.5 g salt in small size (2-3 g).
Meanwhile, umeboshi pickled in a solution made with various seasonings averagely contains 1.0 g salt in large size and 0.2 g salt in small size.
The latter type often comes with hachimitsu (honey) or katsuobushi (bonito shavings) and is tastier and less sour than the former. And I recommend it unless you are a traditional umeboshi lover.
But even in that case, the recommended daily consumption of umeboshi is one piece, given the salt content.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 梅干し )