Sodium in Your Diet

Most Americans are getting too much sodium from the foods they eat. And the sodium in salt plays a role in high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension. (Salt is the common name for sodium chloride.)

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium and even less for children younger than age 14.

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Here are ways you can eat right with less salt:

1. Focus on Fresh Foods
Many foods in their original form, such as fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, milk, yogurt and grains like rice are naturally low in sodium. Include these foods more often in meals and snacks.

2. Eat Processed and Prepared Foods LESS Often
Highly processed and ready-to-eat foods tend to be higher in sodium. Eat these foods only occasionally or in smaller amounts – especially cheesy foods, such as pizza; cured meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and deli or luncheon meats; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned chili, soups, and “instant” flavored noodles and rice.

3. Cook More Often At Home
Enjoy home-prepared foods where you are in control of how much salt is added. Use little or no salt when cooking. Even if package instructions say to add salt to the water before boiling, it isn’t required and can often be omitted. When using canned vegetables with salt added, be sure to drain and rinse the vegetables to reduce the amount of salt.

4. Try New Flavors
Skip the salt and try salt-free seasonings such as herbs, spices, garlic, vinegar, black pepper, or lemon juice. Make your own salt-free seasonings
by combining dried herbs and spices.

5. Read Food Labels
Read the Nutrition Facts Label and the ingredients list to find packaged and canned foods lower in sodium. Compare the amount of sodium listed and select the product with the lower amount. Look for foods labeled “low
sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”

6. Use Caution With Condiments
Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressing, and seasoning packets are high in sodium. Try low-sodium soy sauce and ketchup. Sprinkle only a small amount from a seasoning packet, not the entire amount.

7. Allow Your Taste Buds to Adjust
Like any change; it can take time for your taste buds to adapt to less salt. Foods lower in sodium may taste differently at first, but over time it’s possible to acquire a taste for foods that are lower in sodium.

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