Salt Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Salt is a natural mineral on Earth. In this lesson, you will learn what salt is, where it comes from, the healthy amount of salt that you need, and what foods contain salt. Continue reading to learn interesting facts about salt.

What's Salt?

If you have ever been in the ocean, you may notice specks of salt and sand on your skin after you dry off. This is because ocean water contains lots of salt - that's why it's also known as saltwater.

Salt is a natural mineral that is found on Earth. Salt is made of two elements: sodium and chloride. Scientists use the abbreviation Na for sodium and Cl for chloride. Since salt is made of sodium and chloride, its scientific name is NaCl, also called sodium chloride.

Salt comes in different forms, including sea salt, rock salt, table salt and salt flakes. Salt also has a variety of uses, including seasoning foods, preserving foods, regulating the water in your body, and disinfecting or killing germs.

Salt water evaporates on salt pans to make large piles of salt.
Salt Pans

Why Is Salt Important to Your Body?

A healthy amount of salt helps your body to regulate, or control, the right amount of water and fluids that you need. A healthy amount of salt also helps your heart pump blood at a healthy rate, which gives you good blood pressure. In addition, salt helps your muscles and nerves function properly.

Salt is also a natural disinfectant, which means it can kill germs. If you have ever had a sore throat, you may have gargled with salt water to soothe and heal it - that's salt working as a disinfectant. Salt can also help wounds or sores heal on your body.

Too Much Salt in Your Body

Too much salt in your body causes your heart and blood to pump faster and harder to remove the extra salt that your body doesn't need. Too much salt also causes your body to work harder to regulate the water and fluids your body does need. This makes your blood pressure too high over time, and can make you unhealthy.

What Foods Contain Salt?

Many kids enjoy a variety of delicious foods that contain lots of salt. These include sandwich meats, yummy pizza, cheese, bread, potato chips and many other snacks and foods. Salt adds flavor to foods and helps to preserve them, which means it stops food from spoiling too fast. This is why many foods that you get at restaurants and grocery stores that are prepackaged or canned have so much salt in them. You can talk to your doctor or a trusted adult to determine how much of your favorite salty foods you can eat and stay healthy.

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