Tips for reducing your sodium intake

September 21, 2007 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Labeling

Tips for reducing your sodium intake

The daily upper limit of sodium for adults is 2300 milligrams of sodium. People who have high blood pressure should limit their daily intake to 1500 milligrams.

When watching your sodium intake, it's the total amount of sodium you consume that is most important, not necessarily the sodium content of any one food.  Use the following strategies to help you lower your sodium intake:

  • Read labels. Nutrition Facts table lists the amount of sodium (in milligrams) per one serving of the food. (If you eat more than the specified serving size you'll need to adjust the sodium number.) To quickly determine if a food has a little or a lot of sodium, read the % Daily Value, which is set at 2400 milligrams. Foods low in sodium will have a % Daily Value of 5% or less. It's okay to include a high sodium food in your diet as long as you balance your sodium intake by choosing foods naturally low in sodium such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Pay attention to portion size. Sodium numbers on a nutrition label will underestimate your intake if you consume more than the serving size indicated.
  • Limit your intake of processed meats such as bologna, ham, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, deli meats, and smoked salmon.
  • Limit your use of salt condiments such as bouillon cubes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or barbeque sauce.
  • Rely less on convenience foods such as canned soups, frozen dinners and packaged rice and pasta mixes. Choose pre-made entrees or frozen dinners that contain no more than 200 milligrams sodium per 100 calories.
  • Choose lower sodium products. Many sodium-reduced brands contain 25 percent less sodium than the original version and some, like V8 juice, contain 75 percent less. If you can't find low salt products in your supermarket, ask your grocer to stock them.
  • Be assertive when dining out. Request that salt not be added and order sauces and dressings on the side so you can control the amount you use.
  • Substitute herbs and spices for salt when cooking - try garlic, lemon juice, salsa, onion, vinegar and herbs. Remove the salt shaker from the table to break the habit of salting food at the table.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.