myth and facts

Title : Salt requirement Previous topic PreviousNext Next topic

While it is true that salt is needed to make food palatable and for the healthy functioning of the body, it is also important to know that most of us today eat far more salt or sodium than our bodies need. Babies below the age of six months should have less than 1g of salt per day and seven to 12-month-olds should have no more than 1g per day. For ages one to three, the recommendation is 2g; for four to six-year-olds it is 3g; and for seven to ten-year-olds it is 5g. Children over 11 have adult requirements which is 6 g.

Also, salt isn't the only source of sodium. Sodium is also found in additives including sodium nitrite, sodium bicarbonate and monosodium glutamate. So read the label of processed foods and medicines.

According to Professor Graham MacGregor, of St George's Hospital in London, salt consumption results in us carrying around 3lb of excess fluid (salt attracts water like a sponge, and this can be especially troublesome for women before their period). High salt intakes are also associated with a greater excretion of calcium in the urine - which some researchers think may compromise bone strength and increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

A correlation has also been found between salt and asthma, and salty foods and stomach cancer.

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