In television programs and print publications on healthy nutrition, the issue of the dangers of salt is constantly raised. The frightening name “white death” and a number of terrible diseases, in which she is accused, cause reasonable alarm among parents and burning questions: “Do I need to add salt to my child at all? How old and how old? Is there an alternative to dangerous salt? ”
Shortage of salt in the child’s body
Experts are unanimous in the opinion that with proper breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and the timely introduction of complementary foods, the children’s organism does not experience a sodium deficiency of up to 1.5 years. But there are conditions and diseases that lead to the rapid loss of the sodium mineral:
- excessive sweating due to staying in a hot climate;
- taking diuretics;
- cystic fibrosis;
- adrenal dysfunction.
Externally, signs of salt deficiency are manifested in the form of lethargy, pressure reduction, muscle pain and cramps.
The categorical, and sometimes mutually exclusive, arguments of scientists about the dangers and benefits of salt are confusing. But there is a general opinion that not a single human organism, including children, can live without salt.
Sodium chloride in the body supplies two minerals: sodium and chlorine, each of which fulfills its important mission.
- participates in the production of hydrochloric acid, as the main component of gastric juice;
- promotes the breakdown of fats and complex carbohydrates;
- relieves the body of toxic substances, thereby helping the work of the liver;
- maintains the constancy of acid-base balance and osmotic pressure.
The main source of chlorine is salt, which provides 90% of human needs for this macrocell.
- regulates water-salt metabolism;
- participates in the formation and transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction;
- promotes the transfer of carbohydrates and amino acids through the cell membranes;
- increases renal excretory function and pancreatic enzyme activity;
- prevents dehydration.
Sodium is present in small amounts in milk, beets, celery, eggs, spinach, raisins. But most come with mass-produced products and salt.
Can I give up to a year?
For normal development and growth of salt, a small child is needed in the first year of life.
- Her babies are obtained from mother’s milk, which fully satisfies the daily need. Breast milk contains 7 mmol / l of sodium, while cow’s milk is almost 4 times higher (24-25 mmol / l).
- The need for artificial feeding salt is compensated by its presence in the composition of infant formulas, taking into account age-related needs.
- As you grow in the diet of the baby appears lumber. Shop canned mashed vegetables and fruits, cereals, meat variations do not differ pronounced taste. And the reason is that the responsible manufacturers, following the requirements of nutritionists, do not salt their products.
It is not recommended to salt the children’s dishes prepared for the baby of the first year of life, and at home. Fresh and inedible, according to parents, they are happy to be perceived by the child, whose taste buds are “not spoiled” by salty food.
The salt-free diet of the first year of life does not mean that the child does not receive sodium at all. It is included in the composition of vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy products, and there is simply no need for the additional introduction of sodium chloride into the diet.
How old do you add salt to food?
When can you already add salt to your child’s food? In general, from 1-1.5 years (a small amount). But culinary “a little bit”, “pinch”, “on the tip of a knife”, “to taste” – are extensible concepts and are not acceptable for preparing children’s dishes. Not to be mistaken, use a solution of sodium chloride:
In 100 ml of water diluted with 25 g of salt and bring to a boil. After 3 layers of gauze, filter the solution and add another 100 ml of water. After boiling again, the salt solution is set aside to cool. For 200 g of food add ½ tsp. solution, which corresponds to 0.3 g of salt.
Opinions of doctors
A member of the Department of Nutrition of Children and Adolescents of the Russian Medical Academy Larisa Titova believes that because of the vulnerability of the child’s body that was not fully formed, and in order to avoid additional stresses on the kidneys, baby food should not be salted up to 1 year. Since the required dose of chlorine and sodium in sufficient quantities contain natural products that are included in the children’s diet.
Rules for children of different ages
The connection of excessive consumption of salty foods with the development of hypertension, leading to dangerous complications, forces us to constantly revise age norms. According to WHO recommendations, in 2013 the rate for adults decreased from 9 to 6 g per day.
Actual daily allowances for children of different age groups are as follows:
- up to 6 months – up to 0.2 g;
- from 6 to 12 months – 0.3 g;
- from 1 to 3 years – 0.5 g;
- from 3 to 6 years – 0.5-1 g;
- from 6 to 11 years old – 1-3 g;
- over 11 years old – 3-5 g.
Approximately calculate the amount of salt needed per day for a child, using the formula: 0.5 g of salt for every 10 kg of weight (taking into account the content in finished foods).
Increased salt intake leads to an increase in circulating blood volume, stress on the heart. The kidneys are not able to excrete excess fluid retained by sodium, which leads to less urine, swelling and increased pressure.
Which one to choose?
Far in the past were the Chumatsky ways, along which enterprising Cossacks carried precious cargo from the Azov and Black Sea regions to the Kuban, the Caucasus, Belgorod, and Bryansk. Today, stories about salt riots and penal servitude, exorbitant taxes on “white gold” and even wars for salt seem legends.
A third of all the salt mined is used for human consumption. Moreover, there is no shortage both in the quantity of the product and in its assortment.
The most popular for cooking and canning, for which he received the name “cook”, or “dining”. Natural sources are salt mines or quarries. Available in different grinding. In addition to Na and Cl, it can contain up to 2% impurity of other minerals, which explains the grayish tint of the crystals. Rock salt is recommended for children’s dishes.
Snow-white, purified, 100% consisting of sodium chloride. Processing under the influence of high temperatures and bleach actually turns the natural material into an artificial, flavored with substances to increase flowability and devoid of natural structure. Not recommended for use in baby food.
Iodine deficiency is a common phenomenon in nature, affecting areas remote from the seas and oceans. Only in Russia there are about 30 iodine deficient regions. Filling up the shortage is possible at the expense of food, and the most affordable of them is iodized salt.
It is obtained by adding iodine-containing components (usually potassium iodate) to a common salt and is used in usual dosages. But the rapid evaporation of iodine limits the use of only cold or warm dishes. At children’s age it is used only according to the recommendation of the pediatrician.
Production is based on the method of evaporation of sea water. Shades of taste and smell depend on the source of extraction (sea), and the composition differs by inconstancy. In addition to sodium chloride, other useful elements are present in sea salt: calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine.
To eliminate iodine deficiency conditions, sea salt is of little use to children because of its low iodine content and its rapid evaporation. Appears in baby food only after 5 years.
It is of interest not only in the unusual pink color for salt, but also in the uniqueness of its origin: the movements of the earth’s layers have conserved the seas deep in the subsoil, and volcanic activity has been involved in the formation of salt deposits for hundreds of millions of years.
Pink salt from Pakistan includes 14% of impurities of useful minerals, is distinguished by natural purity and healing power. And although in the promotional offers there are allegations of safety in childhood, official recommendations from experts have not yet been received.
Extraction of black salt is carried out manually in India and Pakistan. It has a rich mineral composition. Due to the high content of iron and sulfur, it is rather not black, but brown. Differs in specific smell and sharp taste. In addition to cooking, it is widely used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Not suitable for cooking children’s meals.
Salty foods banned
Salt is in abundance in many foods. In the food industry, it is indispensable for extending the shelf life and improving the taste characteristics of food that has lost its natural taste due to prolonged heat treatment. There is a place and tricks – salty food from fast food causes thirst and stimulates the purchase of soda water.
Foods with excessive amounts of salt that are dangerous to the child include:
- semi-finished products;
- canned meat and fish, pastes;
- hard cheeses;
- sauces and ketchups;
- chips, french fries, pizza, cereal for breakfast.
It makes no sense to talk about the amount of salt in herring or balyk, but many people forget about its presence in carbonated drinks, sweets, chocolate, bread.
Ready-made food and semi-finished products account for up to 80% of the daily requirement of sodium chloride. Salt is everywhere and in everything, and sometimes in terrifying quantities. Its hard cheese is almost 20 times more than in home-made cottage cheese; in sausages – almost 25 times more than in meat; in canned vegetables – 7-10 times more than in fresh ones.
In the list of banned products for salt content, attentive parents will find the same hazards that can not be given to children under 3 years.
- Canned food (fish, meat, vegetable) and smoked sausages are not recommended in the menu for up to 7 years.
- There is no approval of nutritionists about the inclusion of cooked sausages and sausages in the child’s diet. Even the indication “for baby food” does not exclude the increased content of salt and food additives in the product.
- After 1-1.5 years, the child can be offered a “transparent” slice of 17-20% of hard cheese – unsalted, non-spicy and non-fat. Smoked, melted, pickled varieties and moldy varieties should be discarded.
- Regarding herring, doctors agree that giving it is better after 2-3 years and no more than 1 piece 1-2 times a week. Even lightly salted fish must first be soaked in milk.
- Semi-finished products, snacks, fast food dishes, sauces, mayonnaise, ketchup, carbonated drinks are prohibited for children of any age, and they will not bring benefit to adults – only one harm.
Refusing unsalted food – what to do?
The refusal of unsalted mashed potatoes does not mean that the child does not like this kind of food. It is possible that after 2-3 visits the result will be positive. You can add to the proposed dish a little breast milk or infant formula, so that the taste of the new product is more like familiar food. Sometimes the refusal of the baby is caused by the reluctance to eat mashed potatoes from a certain vegetable. For example, preference is given to broccoli, and not zucchini.
There are problems with the introduction of meat puree in the feed. As a result of industrial preparation, it loses much in taste, according to adults. No need to rush with the addition of salt. Patient application of well-known “tricks” (adding breast milk, a small amount of favorite vegetable mixes, and from 9 months – greens) will help to avoid problems with eating disorders and its effect on the health of the child in the future.
Eats a lot of salt – what’s the reason?
If, on the contrary, a child eats a lot of salt, the reasons may be different. In the last decade, a breakthrough has been made in studying the formation of taste behavior in children. Scientists have concluded that taste preferences in childhood, and then in adulthood, depend on such factors:
- genetic predisposition;
- eating habits of women during pregnancy;
- national traditions.
The severity of the child’s excessive passion for salt will not bring results. Tactful and mild influence on his taste preferences will help to quickly deal with the problem:
- cooking under salted food for the whole family;
- the inaccessibility of the salt shaker for the little restless;
- substitution of a harmful product for a useful alternative in age: greens, salad dressings, harmless sauces for homemade meat and fish dishes.
With the persistent desire of the child – there is salt in large quantities – it is necessary to consult a pediatrician and an endocrinologist (to exclude diseases of the endocrine system).
The use of salt externally and as a therapeutic inhalation gives good results in the case of:
- pustular skin diseases;
- local reaction to insect bites;
- burns and festering wounds;
- respiratory diseases;
- acute osteochondrosis and arthritis.
Medicinal properties of the product are based on disinfecting, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiallergic action.
The ability to emphasize or enhance the taste of cooked food is peculiar not only to salt.
- Dill and parsley greens in dried, frozen or fresh form gives a rich taste to children’s dishes and are used in cooking since the first 9 months of a baby’s life.
- Spicy herbs have useful properties, bright taste and aroma: basil, cumin, rosemary can be added to the baby’s food gradually from 1.5 years.
- Sea kale in dried, crushed form saturates children’s dishes with a special taste, minerals and vitamins; entered into the menu carefully due to possible allergic manifestations from 2.5-3 years.
- Dressings based on natural cream, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, broth with chopped greens, crushed garlic or onions to fish, meat, vegetable dishes and salads give an expressive taste and improve appetite. Recommended after 3 years.
The purchase of products for the children’s diet should be preceded by a good habit – familiarization with the composition. Manufacturers list the ingredients in the prescribed manner: from a larger share to a smaller one. Salt, which occupies one of the first positions in the list (denoted as “salt”, “sodium”, “sodium” or “Na”), should alert the parents and force them to abandon the acquisition.