Your body needs small amounts of sodium to function properly, but too much sodium can lead to health problems. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and risk for heart disease and stroke. Most of the sodium we consume is found in processed foods and in restaurants.
Most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought and restaurant foods. Some foods that seem healthy may have high levels of sodium such as cottage cheese. Unprocessed fruits and vegetables are usually low in sodium.
Top 10 Sources of Sodium
- Bread and rolls
- Cold cuts and cured meats
- Meat dishes
- Pasta dishes
Select lower sodium foods when possible and aim to cook more foods yourself to better control how much sodium you eat.
Tips for Reducing Sodium in Diet
- When cooking at home, try different spices, herbs and vegetables instead of salt
- Use “low sodium” or “no salt added” ingredients in your meals and recipes
- Compare nutrition facts labels to choose the lower sodium options before you buy
- Ask your grocery manager to offer more low sodium options of your favorite foods
- Request restaurant nutrition information to make healthier, lower sodium options
- Drain the liquid from and rinse canned foods
- Use oil or unsalted butter instead of salted butter
People who should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day are:
- People who are 51 years or older
- African Americans
- People with high blood pressure
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease
Americans get most of their daily sodium (more than 75%) from processed and restaurant foods (CDC)