Why is Salt Important in Pregnancy?
What do laksa, mee goreng, and char kway teow have in common? You got it – they’re the saltiest hawker food! Salt may support your baby’s development, but this doesn’t mean you should go all out. Here’s how much salt you need to keep your body in check.
All of the cells in your body need salt to function properly. Salt also helps transmit messages between the brain and the rest of the body1.
During pregnancy, the fluid levels in your body change to support your developing baby. During this time, salt plays an important role in helping to regulate and maintain your body fluid1. This is why a low-salt diet keeps blood pressure within a healthy range during pregnancy, as well as reduces the risk of stroke and heart problems1,2,3.
How Much Salt Should I Take?
The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume not more than 5g, or a teaspoon, of salt per day. However, since many hawker dishes and manufactured foods are loaded with salt, it’s easy for us to exceed the recommended amount. Think twice before reaching out for the saltshaker!
How Do I Reduce Salt Intake?
When shopping for items like packaged foods, preserved meats, salty nuts, as well as seemingly healthy foods such as pasta sauces and soup, check out the salt or sodium content on nutrition labels. If only sodium is listed, multiply the amount by 2.5 times2.
You can also reduce your salt intake by:
• Avoiding adding salt to foods whether cooking at home or eating out
• Using herbs or black pepper to add flavour
• Choosing lower-sodium options when they're available
• Checking salt levels on pre-packed food – aim for less than 1.5g of salt per 100g
• Reducing the amounts of salty deli meats, cheese and soya sauce used in cooking, as they are all high in salt
• Steering clear of sweet foods such as biscuits, which also contain salt
• Checking restaurant menus for hidden salty foods
If you decide to reduce or remove salt from your diet though, your taste buds will adapt to the natural flavours of your food after about three to four weeks.
The Benefits of Iodised Salt During Pregnancy
Some salt comes fortified with iodine, a mineral that contributes to your baby’s brain development. Since many pregnant women don’t enough iodine, it may be a good idea to replace your regular table salt with an iodised version.
However, iodised or not, be sure to keep your salt intake in check!
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Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.