Need to Worry About Sodium

Most of us get more sodium than we need. While adding salt to your food is a source of sodium, it may not be the main reason that your sodium intake is high. Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium can be bad for your health. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diets higher in sodium are associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from the following foods:

  • Breads and rolls
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches (such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and submarine
  • sandwiches)
  • Cold cuts and cured meats (such as deli and packaged ham and turkey)
  • Soups
  • Burritos and tacos
  • Snack foods (such as chips, crackers, microwave popcorn, and pretzels)
  • Chicken (includes processed chicken)
  • Cheese (includes processed cheese)
  • Egg dishes and omelets

Tips for Reducing Sodium Consumption

  • Read the Nutrition Facts label
  • Prepare your own food when you can
  • Add flavor without adding sodium
  • Buy fresh
  • Watch your veggies
  • Give sodium the “rinse”
  • “Unsalt” your snacks
  • Consider your condiments
  • Reduce your portion size
  • Make lower-sodium choices at restaurants