Sodium is needed in our bodies, but only in small amounts. Recent recommendations are 1 teaspoon daily for adolescents and adults. Most Americans consume more sodium than they need. The current estimated average intake of sodium is about 2 ½ teaspoons.
On average, the higher a person’s sodium intake, the higher the person’s blood pressure will be. Evidence has shown that as sodium intake is reduced, blood pressure also becomes lower. For people who have high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, it is advised that sodium intake be lowered to 2/3 teaspoon.
Americans can reduce their consumption of sodium in several ways:
- Read the Nutrition Facts label and compare for sodium levels to the 2,300 mg per day recommendation.
- Purchase foods lower in sodium.
- Eats fewer processed foods that are high in sodium.
- Eat more home prepared foods that don’t include salt.
- When eating at restaurants, ask that salt not be added to your food.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has been helpful in significantly reducing blood pressure along with lowering daily sodium intake. The DASH diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, healthy oils and low fat dairy products with a limited amount of sweets and added sugars.