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Quick Tips to Lower Sodium Intake

Did you know that nine out of 10 Americans eat more sodium (salt) than they need?

Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. It can also raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Eating less sodium can help lower your blood pressure or keep it at a healthy level. Incorporate these tips to help lower the amount of sodium in your diet:

Ask your doctor what your limit is
Ask your doctor how much sodium you or your child may need. The general guidance, according to is:

  • No more than 2,300 mg a day for healthy adults and teens age 14 and older.
  • For people with high blood pressure – and people with blood pressure that’s between normal and high – limiting sodium to 1,500 mg a day may be helpful.
  • Children under age 14 need no more than 1,500 to 2,200 mg a day of sodium, depending on their age.

Read the label
Use the FDA’s Nutrition Facts label to check the amount of sodium in foods and compare different options. The FDA recommends:

  • Try to choose products with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less. Percent Daily Value (DV) on the Nutrition Facts label is a guide to the nutrients in one serving of food. For example, if the label lists 15% for calcium, it means that one serving provides 15% of the calcium you need each day.
  • Sodium content of 20% DV or more is high.
  • Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.” Not all low-sodium foods have those labels. Read the Nutrition Facts label to make determine how much salt is in the product.

Shop for low-sodium foods
Most of the sodium consumption doesn’t come from our salt shakers. Sodium is in almost all the processed and prepared foods we buy, even foods that don’t taste salty, like bread. When you are shopping, limit these items that are high in sodium:

  • Processed meats, poultry, and seafood such as deli meats, sausages, and sardines
  • Instant foods, such as flavored rice, pasta or noodles.
  • Sauces, dressings, and condiments

Need help? Use this shopping list to find lower-sodium foods at the grocery store

Choose healthier options
Substitute foods high in sodium for healthier options:

  • Snack on unsalted nuts instead of salted pretzels or chips.
  • Select skinless chicken and turkey, lean meats, or seafood instead of deli meats or sausages.
  • Eat your veggies! Try vegetables that are fresh, frozen, or canned. Look for frozen vegetables without sauce and canned vegetables with the least amount of sodium.

Cook more at home
Making your own meals means you are in control of what goes into your food…including salt and sodium.

  • If you use canned foods, rinse them before eating or cooking with them to wash away some of the salt.
  • Use condiments and spreads that are unsalted or lower in sodium. If you use regular spreads, use less.
  • Don’t add salt to the water when you cook pasta or rice.
  • Try different herbs and spices to flavor your food.  Ginger or garlic are excellent substitutes for salt.
  • Remove the salt shaker from your table.

Eating out? Here’s a few tips to get less sodium

  • Ask an establishment representative if there are any lower-sodium dishes on the menu.
  • When you order, ask that salt not be added to your food.
  • Get dressings and sauces on the side so you can control the amount you need.

Add more potassium to your diet to lower blood pressure
Replace high-sodium foods with high-potassium foods. Did you know eating foods with potassium can help lower your blood pressure? There are many good sources of potassium include potatoes, cantaloupe, bananas, beans, milk, and yogurt.


This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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