Sodium (salt) is found in nearly everything you eat and drink.
Salt—in the form of iodized table salt and sodium—is essential to life, but in what quantity should it be featured in your diet? While getting the right amount is important, getting too much or too little can lead to health problems.
Let me now touch on the importance of sodium, potential risks of over- or under consumption and how much sodium you should eat per day.
* Aiding muscle function - Salt it is an electrolyte and can help fuel your body during exercise.
* Protect against bacteria - Studies involving mice and human cells showed that levels of sodium are higher at an infection site, and that without the salt bacteria can thrive.
* Regulates body heat - Salt triggers the middle layer of your skin—called the dermis—to bring water and salt to the skin’s surface when you’re overheating, causing the water to evaporate and naturally cooling you (this is commonly known as sweating).
* Can lead to hypertension - too much salt has been shown in many studies to cause high blood pressure.
* Water retention - While salty food can make you feel thirsty, excessive sodium intake can cause your body to retain water, which in turn increases the volume of blood in your veins and taxes the heart.
* Kidney stones - Salt can cause your kidneys to release more calcium into your urine, this calcium bonds with phosphorous to form stones.
Recommended Salt intake
Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that's around 1 teaspoon.
1 to 3 years should eat no more than 2g salt a day (0.8g sodium)
4 to 6 years should eat no more than 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium)
7 to 10 years should eat no more than 5g salt a day (2g sodium)
11 years and over should eat no more than 6g salt a day (2.4g sodium)
Babies should not eat much salt, because their kidneys are not fully developed to process it.
Babies under 1 year old should have less than 1g of salt a day.
If a baby is breastfed, they will get the right amount of minerals, including sodium and chloride, from breast milk. Formula milk contains a similar amount of minerals to breast milk.
Do not add salt to your baby's milk or food and do not use stock cubes or gravy as they're often high in salt and their kidneys cannot cope with it.
Remember this when you're cooking for the family if you plan to give the same food to your baby.
Avoid giving your baby processed foods such as ready meals as these are often high in salt.