Take a look into a typical Indonesian kitchen, and chances are, you’ll find sitting there in a transparent plastic packaging, a flavour enhancer otherwise known as monosodium glutamate or better known as MSG. Made of fermented molasses and cassava, MSG is composed of 78 percent glutamate, 12 percent natrium, and 10 percent water. Its use is prevalent in Asian cooking and in most snacks such as chips, instant noodle and many more.
Despite knowing the health threats of MSG, many home cooks still can’t afford to abandon it – to the detriments of many. To begin with, constant consumption of MSG can lead to short-term effects on one’s health – headache, excessive sweat, nausea, difficulty to breathe, faster heartbeat and drowsiness. Then there’s also the possibility of developing stiffness, numbness, or even burning sensation on your face, neck and other areas.
In the longer period, the use of MSG will interfere with various functions and organs in the body. From problems in the gastrointestinal system (diarrhea, stomach cramp, rectal bleeding) to muscles (stiff muscles and joint ache), nervous system (migraine, panic attack, insomnia) and vision ability (pain around your eyes while your vision worsens) – the ingredient is literally a villain.
Your respiratory system can be affected as well, indicated by asthma attacks, short breath or pain in the chest. You may feel itchy and develop skin rashes. For women, MSG can be one of their biggest enemies as it can dramatically increase their body weight and make the vagina swollen. As for men, MSG can cause the prostate to become swollen. In all cases, over consumption of MSG can cause continuous pain in the bladder and increased frequency of urination.
If these health threats are still not enough reason to say no to MSG, then it’s high time to make it an issue of social responsibility. This new year, let’s make clean eating a resolution!