Shake the Salt Habit

Americans have a taste for salt! The chemical name of salt is sodium chloride, so the words sodium and salt are often used in place of each other. 

The Dietary Guidelines recommend 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium or less a day (about  1 teaspoon of salt) for most adults.  Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease should reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg— a little over 1/2 teaspoon a day!

On average, the higher a person’s sodium intake, the higher the person’s blood pressure.  Calorie intake is also linked to sodium intake.  Therefore, reducing calorie intake can help reduce salt intake, thus helping to reduce blood pressure.

Most Americans get more sodium than is recommended.  Here are some tips to reduce salt in our diets:

  • Eat more fresh foods.  Most of the sodium Americans eat is found in processed food. 
  • Cook more often at home, where you can limit the amount of salt added and use spices and herbs instead.
  • Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal. 
  • Adjust your taste buds by cutting back on salt little by little. 
  • Read Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists to find foods lower in sodium.
  • Pay attention to condiments and use items like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles and seasoning packets in small amounts.

Source: USDA Dietary Guidelines

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