Improving your heart health includes monitoring your sodium intake, which is the salt found in many foods, including some not-so-obvious sources. Every choice counts. Your daily sodium tally can quickly add up. The American Heart Association recommends we consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but we should aim for the maximum of 1,500 mg of daily sodium for optimal heart health, especially for individuals with high blood pressure.
For reference, one teaspoon of salt equals about 2,300 mg of sodium.
Besides avoiding the saltshaker, check out these foods with hidden sodium levels:
- Canned soups
- Barbecue sauce, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce
- Pasta sauce, canned/jarred gravy
- Salad dressings
- Taco mixes and sauces
- Deli meat and cheeses
- Packaged foods, such as seasoned pasta, rice, stuffing or potato mixes
- Packaged baked goods, breads and cereal
- Baking powder and baking soda
When choosing processed food, look for products containing 5% Daily Value or less of sodium. Be wary of labels, such as: reduced sodium, lightly salted, or no salt added, since these labels could still contain a high amount of sodium.
Tips to Lower Sodium Intake
- Reduce the amount of condiments you use.
- Compare labels of packaged foods and choose the lower sodium option.
- Prepare food at home more often to maintain control over the sodium amount in your food.
- Replace salt with other sodium-free spices.
- Choose more fresh, unprocessed foods.
“Sodium Can be Sneaky Infographic,” heart.org, accessed Jan. 4, 2022.
“Spotting Sneaky Salt Sources,” urmc.rochester.edu, accessed Jan. 4, 2022.