Tip of the Day
Focus on Sodium in the New Year
Reducing sodium intake is an important step in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. When it comes to food labels, “unsalted,” “processed without salt,” or “no salt added” may signify the producer didn’t put in any additional salt during processing, but the food may still be naturally high in sodium.
The following tips will help you identify lower-sodium food choices and reduce your daily intake or sodium to less than 2,400 milligrams per day (less than 1,500 milligrams a day if you have been diagnosed with hypertension or are salt-sensitive):
- Look for labels that say low sodium, very low sodium or sodium free.
- Most of the sodium in the food supply comes from packaged foods. Processed meats such as hams, sausages, frankfurters and luncheon or deli meats are particularly high in sodium.
- Fresh chicken, turkey and pork that have been enhanced with a salt-containing solution also have added sodium. Check the product label for statements such as “self-basting.”
- Frozen dinners, package mixes, cereals, cheese, breads, soups, salad dressings and sauces also tend to be high in sodium. The amounts in different types and brands often vary widely, so be sure to read the labels and compare.
- Choose fresh, plain frozen or canned vegetables without added salt most of the time.
- Choose fresh or frozen fish, shellfish, poultry and meat most often. They are lower in salt than most canned and processed forms.
Source: So What Can I Eat?. How to Make Sense of the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Make Them Your Own (Wiley 2006), Elisa Zied, MS, RD with Ruth Winter, MS.
Produced by ADA’s Public Relations Team