Sodium is involved in fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. We only need to consume 250 mg sodium each day for our bodies to function properly. The average American diet supplies 20 - 40 times that much, so most people need to reduce the sodium in their diet. Too much sodium in the diet contributes not only to high blood pressure, but also osteoporosis. The American Heart Association and other organizations recommend we eat no more than 2400 mg sodium per day.
Table salt is 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains 2400 mg sodium. Table salt is not the biggest source of sodium in the American diet however. The majority of sodium we eat is from processed foods. Begin to look at the Nutrition Facts Panel on the foods you eat and see how much sodium foods contain.
Tips to reduce the sodium in your diet:
- Not adding salt in cooking
- Limit salt at the table, or use a salt substitute
- Look for low sodium versions of canned foods
- Prepare more foods from scratch rather than using boxed and frozen items
- Limit restaurant meals, especially fast foods
Go easy on condiments such as catsup, mustard, pickles and olives