Getting to the Heart of a Healthful Diet: Sodium
Major Food Sources
- Beef broth
- Commercial soups
- French fries
- Potato chips
- Salted snack foods
- Sandwich meats
- Tomato-based products
- Milk products
- Soft 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 in sodium content from original product|
|Light||Sodium is reduced by at least 50% per serving|
|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 purchasing.
- Gradually cut down on the amount of salt you use. Your taste buds will adjust to less salt.
- Do not add salt from the salt shaker at the table. Or add much less than before. Taste your food before you salt it; it may not need more salt.
- Substitute flavorful ingredients for salt in cooking, such as garlic, oregano, onion, lemon or lime juice, or other herbs, spices, and seasonings.
- Opt for fresh foods instead of processed foods. For example, select fresh or plain frozen vegetables and meats instead of those canned with salt.
- Look for low sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added versions of foods you eat every day.
- 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.
- When dining out, order a low-salt meal or ask the chef not to add salt to your meal.
- Limit your use of condiments such as soy sauce, dill pickles, salad dressings, and packaged sauces.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
DASH diet. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 3, 2013. Accessed February 19, 2015.
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 19, 2015.
Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 29, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2015.
Most Americans should consume less sodium. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm. Updated September 9, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2015.
Salt and sodium. 10 tips to help you cut back. US Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet14SaltAndSodium.pdf. Published June 2011. Accessed February 19, 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 19, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/13/2013 -
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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