Sodium is an essential nutrient that your body needs to function, but too much can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. So, how much is too much? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg (about one teaspoon of salt) per day for healthy people and less than 1,500 mg for adults with high blood pressure. Yet the average American consumes nearly 3,400 mg a day! So where is all this sodium coming from?
Over half of the sodium consumed in the US comes from five main sources. These sources include sandwiches, poultry, pizza, grain-based dishes such as pasta, vegetables prepared with or packed in salt, and meat or seafood dishes. Other sources of sodium include bread, snack foods, salad dressings, sauces, and cheese.
Simple Ways to Reduce Sodium
While you cannot control the amount of sodium hidden in processed foods, there are many easy ways to reduce your sodium intake. Use the helpful handout below for ways to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
Try to flavor your meals with salt-free seasonings this week. Try black pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, herbs, and spices instead of reaching for the salt shaker!
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eating Right With Less Salt. Eat Right. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- Nutrition C for FS and A. Sodium in Your Diet. FDA. Published online February 25, 2022. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Accessed May 16, 2022.