Sodium Information

Daily Salt Intake Recommendation

Daily Recommended Sodium

Chemical composition of Salt: Salt is Sodium Chloride (NaCl), a compound of sodium (chemical symbol Na) and chlorine.

Our body needs some sodium to regulate the balance of fluid in and around each cell. Common table salt contains about 40% sodium by weight. Food labels list the sodium content of food rather than the salt content. Health authorities also recommend the safe level of sodium in diet rather than that of salt.

There is no sodium intake recommended or Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium or salt. However, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend 2300mg of sodium daily for adults. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt) in one day. However, most people take more than the recommended amount a day in diet, almost double the value.

So how much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt?

It depends on the type of salt. Roughly, about 6g of salt makes one teaspoonful and approximately 2.4g sodium.

1 teaspoon salt = 6,200mg (6.2g) sodium chloride
nbsp;nbsp;                        = 2,400mg (2.4g) sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000mg sodium

Note that the salt crystals and sea salt contain the same amount of sodium.

Salt or Sodium intake for babies and children?

The adults do not need more than 1 tsp of salt. Babies and children need a very small amount of salt as given below:

Age of Child/Baby : Daily salt (sodium)

0-12 month* : 1g (400mg sodium) or 1/6 tsp salt

1-3 year : 2g (0.8g sodium) or 1/3 tsp salt

4-6 year : 3g (1.2g sodium) or 1/2 tsp salt

7-10 year : 5g (2.0 g sodium) or 5/6 tsp salt

Above 11 year : 6g (2.4g sodium) or 1 tsp salt

* Breastfed babies get the right amount of salt through breast milk.

Infant Formula milk contains a right amount of salt.

List of Best Low Sodium or Salt Foods

Fresh foods contain a small amount of sodium and can meet the body's requirement of sodium for most people. You should always buy low salt (less than 120mg/100g) or salt-free options of commonly used foods, if available.

  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  2. Milk, yogurt (yoghurt)
  3. Cooking oils
  4. Cereals such as rice, pasta, rolled oats, couscous and other grains have very low sodium content.
  5. Cottage, Ricotta, mozzarella and Swiss cheeses are lower in salt than other cheeses.
  6. Most fresh meats are low in sodium, 60-90mg sodium/100g. It is the cooking method that makes meat saslty.

Low sodium diet and Signs of Sodium Deficiency

What happens to the body when the sodium is low?
The body loses salt through urine, perspiration, diarrhea and vomiting. If too much salt is lost to cause low blood sodium, the level of fluid in the blood will drop. If the sodium in our blood falls below the normal range, it can be dangerous if not treated. Low sodium levels or sodium deficiency in the body or side effects of low sodium level can cause to muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Lack of salt for a long period of time can lead to shock, coma and death.

Your doctor may recommend you a low salt diet if you have high blood pressure or other condition. Maintaining a sodium intake below 2000 mg/day requires considerable effort because majority of foods available in supermarkets and restaurants are salted, so you should cook low sodium meals at home using low salt or salt substitutes.

Homemade Salt Substitute

Try herbs as salt substitutes. Herbs and spices like fresh garlic or garlic powder, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, fresh ground pepper, tarragon and oregano offer good substitutes for salt and sodium.The following is a very good salt substitue recipe.

  • Garlic powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Fenugreek seeds, 1 Tbsp
  • Black pepper, 1.5 Tbsp
  • Celery seed, 1 Tbsp
  • Onion powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Citric acid powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Thyme, dried, 1 tsp

Mix all the ingredients and grind well in a mixer to make a powder. Transfer it to a salt shaker bottle for easy use.

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