Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet. A key to healthy eating is choosing foods lower in salt and sodium. Most Americans consume more salt than they need. The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day.
That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets of 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure lowering benefits. These lower-sodium diets also can keep blood pressure from rising and help blood pressure medicines work better.
Tips For Reducing Sodium In Your Diet
- Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned "with no salt added" vegetables.
- Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed types.
- Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
- Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereals without salt. Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta, and cereal mixes, which usually have added salt.
- Choose "convenience" foods that are lower in sodium. Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings — these often have a lot of sodium.
- Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium.
- When available, buy low- or reduced-sodium, or no-salt-added versions of foods.
- Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.
Quick Facts on Salt
- Most sodium is consumed in the form of sodium chloride which is table salt. Other forms of sodium are also found in food, so watch out for salt AND sodium.
- Try to have less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day — that's the same as 6 grams of salt a day, or about 1 teaspoon
- That includes ALL sodium and salt — what's in the product, and added in cooking and at the table
- Processed foods account for most of the sodium and salt consumed
- Check food labels — sodium is in some foods you might not expect, such as soy sauce and some antacids
- Kosher salt and sea salt are just that — salt. Don't forget to include them in adding up your sodium intake for the day
- Reducing salt in the diet can lower blood pressure
Tips on How to Prepare Lower Salt Meals
- Add less salt at the table and in cooking. Reduce the amount a little each day until none is used. Try spices and herbs instead
- Cook with low-salt ingredients. Remove salt from recipes whenever possible. Rice, pasta, and hot cereals can be cooked with little or no salt
- Use fewer sauces, mixes, and "instant" products this includes flavored rices, pasta, and cereal, which usually have salt added
- Rinse salt from canned foods
- Limit smoked, cured, or processed beef, pork, or poultry
Tips on Being a Smart Shopper
- Read the food label to find out more about what is in the foods you eat
- Buy fresh, plain frozen, or canned "with no salt added" vegetables
- Choose foods that say:
- sodium free
- very low sodium
- low sodium
- reduced (or less) sodium
- light in sodium