Are you eating too much sodium? Find out how much is too much and why.
Sodium is the essential nutrient found in salt. Essential means that you need it to live. But eating too much sodium can be bad—even dangerous—for your health, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
Here’s why: high levels of sodium in your blood cause your bloodstream to hold more water. This causes added stress on your heart and added pressure on your blood vessels. Over time, this pressure can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. Most Americans consume about 3,400 mg of sodium a day—almost 50% more than is recommended!
More than 75% of the sodium most people eat isn’t from table salt—it’s in processed foods and restaurant meals, some of which don’t even taste salty. Here are some of the places where sodium can hide in high levels:
*Sodium levels are approximate and reflect maximum amounts.
Reducing the amount of sodium you eat might be easier than you think. Here are some tips:
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“Get the Facts: Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines,” CDC.gov. April 2016.
“Health Risks and Disease Related to Salt and Sodium,” Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed May 10, 2016.
“Hidden Sodium,” CDC.gov. June 18, 2014.
“Sodium,” GB HealthWatch. Accessed May 12, 2016.
“Sodium and Food Sources,” CDC.gov. February 29, 2016.