What are the current US Dietary Guidelines for salt intake and how do I lower my intake?

-Sharon Gray, Nutrition Education, EFNEP Associate Extension Educator

The US Dietary Guidelines recommend a limit of 2300 mg for people ages 14 and up.  That is a single teaspoon of salt.   Most Americans consume 3,400 mg or more of sodium each day which equals 1.5 teaspoons of salt.  About 70% of the sodium in American diets comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, not the salt shaker.

Hidden salt is everywhere in the typical American diet and it adds up quickly.

A high sodium diet puts too much strain on the kidneys .  Eventually this leads to high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and kidney disease.

-You can reduce your sodium intake by carefully reading nutrition labels on packaged foods.

  • The Daily Value (DV) for sodium is less than 2,300 mg per day
  • The percent DV shows how much of the maximum recommended amount of sodium in a single serving
  • Aim for less than 5 % DV for sodium if you are looking for low sodium foods
  • Limit or avoid foods with 20% DV or more for sodium

– When you are at restaurants, eat less and consider ordering sauces and dressings on the side

– Try using herbs and spices in recipes to season your food instead of salt