Daily Sodium Intake: How Much Is Too Much?

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Daily Sodium Intake: How Much Is Too Much?

Daily Sodium Intake

Sodium, a component of table salt (sodium chloride), is an essential nutrient for the body. However, for certain individuals, consuming excess salt can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Several meta-analysis involving over 177,000 men and women who were followed for 3 ½ years to 19 years showed that higher salt intake was associated with a 23 percent increase in stroke and a 14 percent increase in heart disease.1

Salt Intake Recommendations

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you can safely consume 2,300 mg of sodium per day on average, if you are generally healthy and have stable blood pressure numbers. However, if you are over 50 years of age, have high blood pressure, have diabetes, have chronic kidney disease, or are of African American descent, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.


Salt Recommendations

If you are healthy and have stable blood pressure: < 2,300 mg per day
If you have or fall into any of the following:

  • Older than 50 years of age
  • High blood
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • African American descent
<1,500 mg per day

Unfortunately, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men in their 20s consume an average of 4,500 mg of sodium per day, and men in their 30s consume an average of 4,700 mg of sodium per day.

Since the major contributor to sodium intake is salt in the diet, moderating salt intake is important. Most people get three-quarters of their daily salt from prepared or processed food. Utilize these simple tips to reduce dietary salt intake:

  • Limit use of canned, processed, or frozen foods – Fast foods, canned foods, and frozen foods are typically loaded with salt to enhance the flavor of the foods.

  • Ask for sauces on the side – Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and salad dressings often contain high amounts of salt. Choose low sodium alternatives.

  • Ask about salt usage when eating out – Restaurants are in business to make food taste good, which sometime involves high quantities of salt. Inquire about salt usage if you eat out regularly.

  • Cook with herbs/spices instead of salt – Season meats and vegetable with herbs and spices instead of salt.

  • Limit the amount you pour with the salt shaker – First, pour a small amount of salt into your hand to see how quickly it comes out and then add the desired quantity of salt to your food.