Expert tips on how to reduce sodium intake

  • 2 Minutes Read

Has your health care provider advised you to reduce sodium intake, or have you wondered if sodium consumption is really a big deal? Yes, indeed, it is important. Read this post to learn more.

How to reduce sodium intake

Why it's smart to reduce sodium intake and how to do it

So, what's the big deal about too much sodium in the diet? How on earth can we avoid it since it's in practically everything we like to eat? Well, sodium is actually an essential mineral that our bodies need to control fluid balance, send nerve signals, and work with muscle function. However, excess dietary sodium can cause health problems. Extra sodium in the blood pulls water into the blood vessels, which increases the volume of blood inside the vessels and leads to increased blood pressure (BP). Increased BP creates an extra workload for the heart muscle, blood vessels, and kidneys. Over time, the additional burden is a huge risk for stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease, the leading causes of poor health and death worldwide.

So, how much is too much? Measured in milligrams (mg), sodium and recommended daily limits are a topic of controversy amongst health organizations. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 2,300 mg sodium per day, with an ideal limit of fewer than 1,500 mg per day for most adults, especially those with high BP. Unless you cook mainly from scratch and strictly limit consumption of processed foods and salt, 1,500 mg per day is a lofty goal for most people. In fact, according to the CDC, most adults and children in the United States exceed the recommended sodium intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that most people consume about 9,000-12,000 mg sodium per day. WHO estimates that the world might avoid 2.5 million deaths each year if global salt consumption fell to its recommended level of 2,000 mg per day. Not sure about you, but these statistics get my attention!

How to reduce sodium intake

Keep in mind that salt is an acquired taste. You can likewise develop a preference for less salty foods as you cut back. I experienced this when I moved away from my parents' home.

Need a proven plan to nudge you?

You may also want to consider adding the DASH diet approach to your low-sodium focus. Supported by the highest quality evidence, the DASH eating plan is proven to improve lipids and reduce BP. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish, non-tropical oils, and nuts, yet limits sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat. The diet's high potassium, magnesium, and calcium content positively impacts BP and lipids.

MyNetDiary's dietitians on community forum can suggest how to reduce sodium intake effortlessly. If you are not sure, ask your doctor or registered dietitian about your upper recommended sodium limit.

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Apr 9, 2021
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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