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Easy Ways to Cut Sodium Intake

Improve Your Health by Reducing Your Salt Intake
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator and Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer
You consume sodium every single day, and that's a good thing! Our bodies need sodium to help maintain water and mineral balances and blood volume. But too much of a good thing (sodium in this case) can have negative effects on your health, such as an increased risk for high blood pressure (which contributes to heart disease and stroke). While most of us get enough sodium each day to meet our bodies' needs (about 1,500 milligrams), the average person consumes way too much! Experts recommend that adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily—that's about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Sodium is a mineral that occurs naturally in foods that you eat every day, including meats, nuts, grains, and dairy. Salt and sodium are not the same things—but salt is made from sodium (and chloride). What you might not realize, however, is that “hidden” sodium found in processed foods (in the form of salt) makes up the largest proportion of the sodium that adults consume (in addition to any salt that you add yourself).

Cutting back on sodium is one action you can take to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and its related complications. Keep in mind that your taste buds are probably accustomed to a strong taste of salt, so limiting your consumption might take a little getting used to, but your health is worth it! Here are some sodium-cutting tips you can try today: The chart below lists common salty foods. Notice how quickly sodium can add up with just a few foods!

                                         Food                    Portion                 Sodium
 Baking soda  1 tsp  1,259 mg
 Mini pretzels  10 minis  1,029 mg
 Soy sauce  1 Tbsp  902 mg
 Frozen pepperoni pizza 1 serving  902 mg
 Dill pickle  1 medium  883 mg
 Frozen chicken pot pie  1 serving  857 mg
 Shredded cheddar cheese  1 cup  702 mg
 Baking powder  1 tsp  488 mg
 Hamburger  1 sandwich  474 mg
 Sauerkraut  1/2 cup  469 mg
 Canned peas  1 cup  428 mg
 Ham  1 slice  373 mg
 Biscuit  1 whole  304 mg
 Bacon  1 slice  303 mg
 Salted mixed nuts  1/4 cup  205 mg
 Ketchup  1 Tbsp  190 mg
 Hard salami  1 slice  186 mg
 White bread  1 slice  170 mg
 Mustard  1 Tbsp  168 mg
 Potato chips  1 ounce  168 mg
 Saltine crackers  5 crackers  161 mg
 Tortilla chips  1 ounce  150 mg
 Italian salad dressing  1 Tbsp  116 mg
 Salted butter  1 Tbsp  82 mg