Salt- What is the correct requirement for children
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On November 25, 2017
Salt in our food is like soul in the body. Salt or “Namak” contributes to the taste of all kinds of foods and makes them more enjoyable. It enhances flavor and texture to the food. Whether a particular food item is liked or disliked, salt is one of the important determinants of food intake, especially among children.
Types of Salt
- Table Salt or common salt is primarily composed of sodium chloride and generally found in restaurant tables and in processed food
- Sea salt is salt mined from the sea. It is higher in minerals than table salt, and considered a more natural form
- Himalayan Salt, a salt rich in mineral content traces different elements like calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium and iron
Benefits of Salt
- Prevents Iodine deficiency which may have an impact on children’s mental health
- Maintains the electrolyte balance for smooth functioning of organs of the body
- Salt is essential for sustaining the hydration levels of the body
- Sodium is an essential nutrient for both children and adults, and works to maintain an adequate volume in the circulatory system and transporting molecules across cell membranes.
Depending on the age criteria, the RDA (recommended dietary allowances) of sodium in children is between 1200-1500mg per day. However, it is observed that average consumption of salt in children is almost double the RDA requirements.
- Habits of eating high sodium foods during childhood leads to developing risk for diseases like hypertension later in life.
- High blood pressure can eventually lead to cardiovascular strokes and further heart failure.
- As kidneys work constantly to flush out excess salt, beware of the extra load on the kidneys.
Processed foods and fast foods like Pizza, instant food such as noodles,pasta which includes tastemakers , Sandwiches (including burgers), breads, savoury snacks, cheese, packaged foods like chips are hidden sources of excess salt which leads to different ailments later in life.
Recently, Doctors and Experts from IIT Mumbai and Chennai had demanded a law to limit salt in packaged foods. Also, in order to increase awareness, a mission on ‘Salt Satyagraha’ was published at Powai in Mumbai.
Tips for parents looking to cut down salt in kids’ diets;
- Feed your children a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables without added salt or sauces.
- To maintain a healthy level of salt consumption one should first know which foods are excess in salt and how to limit on those unhealthy foods.
- Read nutrition labels. When shopping at the grocery store, look for the lowest sodium options for your child’s favourite foods. Just focus mainly on sodium content of the foods before purchasing.
- Eating foods at extreme temperatures can curb salt cravings.
- Excess of spices in the food can call for more salt into the recipe.
- When opting for low salt food, add lime to mask the absence of salt and make it tasty. Tangy foods help in adding taste without requiring the addition of too much of salt to the food.
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