Reduce Sodium Intake

What is Sodium?

Sodium is a mineral found in salt and many foods that you consume on a daily basis. While sodium can help your body regulate blood pressure, consuming too much sodium in your daily diet can result in high blood pressure.

Reducing the amount of sodium you consume every day is an easy way to help lower your blood pressure. You can reduce the sodium intake in your daily diet by:

  1. Avoiding foods that have a high sodium content
  2. Reducing the amount of additional salt use in meals

How much sodium should you consume each day?

Recommended Daily Sodium Intake

If you have Normal Blood Pressure, your should consume:

Less than 2,300 milligrams of Sodium per day

1 teaspoon of salt

If you have High Blood Pressure, you should consume:

Less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day

¾ teaspoon of salt

1) Avoiding foods that have a high sodium content

You can find out how much sodium is in the food you eat by looking at the nutrition label on the package of the food:

Nutrition label on a can of tomatoes - stock photo

Example: This is a can of soup, it has 340 milligrams of sodium per serving. The entire can has 3.5 servings, which means there are 1,190 milligrams of sodium in the entire package.

For more information on the nutrition content of foods, visit this website, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods and searching by food name.

2) Reducing the amount of salt added to home-cooked mealsRounded Rectangular Callout: Herbs: Oregano, Basil, Bay Leaves, Rosemary, Cilantro
Spices: Pepper, Garlic Powder (not Garlic Salt), Paprika, Curry, Cumin, Chili Powder
Salt-Free Seasoning: Be sure to read the nutrition label of the package to make sure that it does not have more than 2,300mg of sodium per serving.
Salt Substitutes: Talk to your doctor about the option of using salt-substitute because it can be harmful for people with kidney issues.

  • Reduce salt in your meals by not adding salt when preparing home-cooked meals. When you add a teaspoon of salt to your meals while cooking, you are adding more than 2,300mg of sodium- which is more than what you should be eating in one day.
  • Use different herbs, spices, salt-free seasoning, and salt substitutes in your meals while cooking.
  • While you are eating you meals, keep the salt shaker at a distance to help reduce the urge to add salt to your meals.

If you are used to eating foods with high salt and sodium content, your palate will need to adjust to the change. Be patient and focus on achieving your goal of eating foods with less sodium or using less salt.

Sources:


National Health, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI). Your Guide to lowering blood pressure, Reduce salt and sodium in your diet. Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/sodium/sodium.htm

American Heart Association. Shaking the salt habit. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp#.Vqqxl_k4Fdg

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