Nearly all Americans eat too much salt (sodium). Most of the salt comes from eating processed foods (75%), or adding salt to food while cooking and using the salt shaker at meals (5% to 10%). On average, the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her blood pressure. Eating less salt IS an important way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which may in turn reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney damage. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet eat less processed food and use less salt while cooking and at the table.
Other lifestyle changes may prevent or delay getting high blood pressure and may help lower elevated blood pressure. These include eating more potassium-rich foods, losing excess weight being more physically active, eating a healthy diet and limiting alcoholic beverages, if you choose to drink them.
Did you know that sodium and potassium both impact blood pressure? A diet rich in potassium helps to counterbalance some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure.
Foods that are good sources of potassium are listed in the Food Sources of Potassium table below.
You should get no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. Some people should get less. Here are some tips for eating less salt:
If you follow these tips for awhile, your taste for salt will decrease-you won’t miss it.
When buying packaged food, use the Nutrition Facts label to check potassium content. Use the % DV to look for foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium-which counteracts some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure. NOTE Potassium is not always found on the label.
Some people should get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day, and should meet the potassium recommendation through foods. These are:
Potassium-containing food sources include leafy greens, such as spinach and collards; fruit from vines, such as grapes and black beans; root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes; and citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit More specific examples are listed on the Food Sources of Potassium table below. Adults should aim to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium from food and beverages each day.
This table is provided to show the importance of reading the food label to determine the sodium content of food, which can vary by several hundreds of milligrams in similar foods.
% Daily Values (DV) listed in this column are based on the food amounts listed in the table. The DV for sodium is 2,400 mg. All snack foods are regular flavor, salted. Note: None of the examples provided were labeled low-sodium products.
% Daily Values (DV) listed in this column are based on the food amounts listed in the table and FDA’s Daily Value for potassium (3,500 mg).
For more information on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.