- Regulation of fluid balance and blood pressure
- Helps transport glucose into the cell
- Carbon dioxide transport
- Muscle contraction
- Nerve impulse transmission
- Adults aged 51 years and older
- African Americans
- People with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease
Adequate Intake (AI)
|Children: 1-3 years||1,000 mg|
|Children: 4-8 years||1,200 mg|
|Children: 9-18 years||1,500 mg|
|Adults: 19-50 years||1,500 mg|
|Adults 51-70 years||1,300 mg|
|Adults 71 years and older||1,200 mg|
Too Little Sodium
Too Much Sodium
Major Food Sources
- Beef broth
- Commercial soups
- French fries
- Potato chips
- Salted snack foods
- Sandwich meats
- Tomato-based products
- Milk products
- Softened water
Reading Food Labels
|Food Label Term||Meaning|
|Sodium free||Less than 5 mg/serving|
|Very low sodium||35 mg or less/serving|
|Low sodium||140 mg or less/serving|
|Reduced sodium||25% reduction per serving in sodium content from original product|
|Light in sodium or lightly salted||At least 50% less sodium than the original product|
|Unsalted, no salt added, without added salt||Processed without salt when salt normally would be used in processing|
Tips for Lowering Your Sodium Intake
- Read the nutrition label to find out how much sodium is in the foods you are buying.
- Gradually cut down on the amount of salt you use. Your taste buds will adjust to less salt.
- Taste your food before you salt it.
- Substitute flavorful ingredients for salt in cooking, such as garlic, oregano, lemon or lime juice, and other herbs, spices, and seasonings.
- Opt for fresh foods instead of processed ones. For example, select fresh or plain frozen vegetables and meats instead of those canned with salt.
- Look for low sodium or reduced sodium, or no salt added versions of such foods as: canned vegetables; vegetable juices; dried soup mixes; bouillon; condiments; snack foods; crackers and bakery products; canned soups; butter, margarine; cheeses; canned tuna; and processed meats.
- Cook and eat at home. Adjust your recipes to gradually cut down on the amount of salt you use. If some of the ingredients already contain salt, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, or cheese, you do not need to add more salt.
- Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt or with less salt than the package calls for. Flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes generally already contain added salt.
- Limit your use of condiments such as soy sauce, dill pickles, salad dressings, and packaged sauces.
- When dining out, order a low-salt meal or ask the chef not to add salt to your meal.
- Also when dining out, ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side, so that you can control the amount that you add.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org
Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture http://www.choosemyplate.gov
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 23, 2015. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Tips to eat less salt and sodium. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/healthdisp/pdf/tipsheets/Tips-to-Eat-Less-Salt-and-Sodium.pdf. Published December 2013. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Salt. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm. Updated September 9, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Salt and sodium. 10 tips to help you cut back. Choose My Plate—US Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet14SaltAndSodium.pdf. Published June 2011. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Sodium and salt. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sodium-Salt-or-Sodium-Chloride%5FUCM%5F303290%5FArticle.jsp. Updated January 12, 2015. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Sodium chloride. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 28, 2015. Accessed February 9, 2015.
Sodium in your diet: using the nutrition facts label to reduce your intake. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm315393.htm. Updated June 20, 2014. Accessed February 9, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 02/09/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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