Decreasing salt intake to within recommended limits could prevent thousands of deaths annually, reports the CDC.
High sodium (salt) consumption raises blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation's first and third leading causes of death, respectively.
It may be hard to make changes, but it doesn’t take long to see the health benefits: Research shows that when salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins decreasing for most people within a few days to weeks.
The vast majority of the sodium consumed by Americans is from packaged, processed and restaurant foods; only a small portion is used in cooking or added at the table.
The American Heart Association reports that 75 percent of people’s sodium intake is from processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes.
The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500mg of sodium per day as the adequate intake level for most Americans and advises everyone to limit sodium intake to less than 2300mg per day. At the same time, eat potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
However, if you are in the following population groups, you should consume no more than 1,500mg of sodium per day and meet the potassium recommendation food. For a full list of potassium rich foods, please visit www.heart.org/HEARTORG
- You are 51 years of age or older
- You are African American
- You have high blood pressure
- You have diabetes
- You have chronic kidney disease
The 1,500 recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population overall and the majority of adults. Nearly everyone benefits from reduced sodium consumption.
The average daily sodium intake for Americans age 2 years and older is 3,436mg.
Since the 1970s, the amount of sodium in our food has increased, and we are eating more food each day than in the past.