Let’s begin with a fun fact, shall we? The word salt comes from the Latin word “sal,” meaning salt. It was once a valuable commodity, and it has been used as a currency for trading. The English word “salary” comes from the word salt.
We feel like a lot of us, parents, are pretty conscious of how much sugar they are giving to their baby, but what about their sodium intake? Here we are, shedding some light on a few lesser known facts about sodium.
- Research shows that 79% of pre-schoolers, aged 1-3 years consume more than the recommended amount of sodium each day. That’s a HUGE PERCENTAGE. Sodium intake is related to high blood pressure (aka the “silent killer”), which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. While you may think hypertension occurs only in adults, babies are not immune from it. And what’s concerning is, that this has been shown to track into adulthood.
- High sodium intake also can impact bone health. Studies show a positive correlation between salt intake and calcium excretion, resulting in a reduced peak bone mass. This is concerning as bone mass attained in childhood has a great impact on lifelong skeletal health.
- Also, studies show that babies are born with innate preferences for sweet and salty flavours. Sweet and salty foods are highly palatable and elicit a highly rewarding experience. It is no wonder that your child is more likely to choose sodium-rich foods like pizza and chips over vegetables and other whole foods.
DIETARY GUIDLINES FOR SODIUM
ACCORDING TO THE DIETARY GUIDELINES 2015-2020
- 1-3 years: 1500 mg/day
- 4-8 years: 1900 mg/day
Researchers have found that children who consume salty foods are more likely to have a sugary drink with it. This combination could increase the risk of obesity.
It’s a good idea to avoid adding any extra salt to your baby’s food. Babies only need a tiny amount of salt in their diets, and that need is generally met through breast milk or infant formula. As your child gets older (post 12 months) and begins eating table food, they will get plenty of “hidden” salt in the foods with their balanced diet.