Limiting Sodium Intake

Salt, also known as sodium is in so many foods! In the grocery aisles of the supermarket, almost every nutrition label will show some sodium.

According to Food and Drug Administration, 70% of the sodium in our diet comes from packaged and prepared food (FDA.gov). Sodium is used in foods to add flavor or to preserve foods. Although sodium is important for our body to survive, Americans are consuming too much of it. Sodium is a mineral found in foods that our body needs for daily functioning, but the amount needed is very small.  

It is recommended that we try to consume 2,300 milligrams per day. Currently, Americans are eating 3,400 milligrams on average per day. This is a significant amount. Too much sodium in our diet can lead to high blood pressure. This creates stress on our heart and increases risk of heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. 

Which foods have sodium? 

 

High Sodium Foods  

Low Sodium Foods  

Meat 

Bacon, sausage, processed deli meats 

Fresh cut meats, chicken breast (without skin or pre marinated seasoning)  

Dairy 

Processed cheese  

Low sodium cheeses, unsalted butter, yogurt or Greek yogurt  

Snacks  

Pretzels, croutons, popcorn, peanut butter, salted nuts   

Unsalted popcorn, unsalted nuts, dried fruits and vegetables  

Other  

Canned soups and beans, soy sauce, frozen dinners  

Low sodium soups and broth, low sodium peanut butter, rinse and drain canned goods  

Mealtime  

Prepackaged stuffing and pasta, frozen pizza or boxed meals, ramen, fast food 

Homemade meals using herbs for flavor 

Control. Salt. Delete.  

It may seem impossible to limit salt intake, but here are some tips to keep daily salt intake under control: 

  • Remove table salt from the table and use spices and herbs instead for flavor 

  • When eating out, eat half and bring the other half home 

  • There are many low sodium options at the grocery store. Some examples include low sodium chicken broth, beans, cheeses, peanut butter and soup  

  • If eating foods from a can liked canned beans, rinse beans well  

  • Try cooking from home more often, foods from scratch naturally have less salt  

  • Sea salt is no better than regular salt 

  • Read nutrition labels! Foods lower than 140 mg per serving is a good goal

References:  

FDA. Sodium in Your Diet. Updated April 2, 2020  

https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet 

 

Barbara Gordon, RDN. Eat Right Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Is Sodium the Same this as Salt? Posted 8/8/2019. Updated February 2020  

https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/is-sodium-the-same-thing-as-salt 

 

USCF Health. Guidelines for A Low Sodium Diet  

https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/guidelines-for-a-low-sodium-diet