Salt is sodium chloride. Sodium is an element that’s needed for good health. You must have a certain balance of sodium and water in your body at all times. Too much salt or too much water in your system will upset the balance.
When you’re healthy, your kidneys get rid of extra sodium to keep the correct balance of sodium and water.
What’s bad about sodium?
In some people, too much sodium leads to or worsens high blood pressure. Having less sodium in your diet may help you avoid high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke.
How much sodium do I need?
4,300 mg of sodium, or about 6 to 10 grams
of salt, daily.
2,300 mg of salt per day.
and older adults, and those with high
blood pressure — need less than 1,500 mg
What foods should I limit?
- Fish that’s frozen, pre-breaded, pre-fried or smoked; also fish that’s canned in oil or brine like
tuna, sardines or shellfish
- Ham, bacon, corned beef, luncheon meats, sausages and hot dogs
- Canned foods and juices containing salt
- Commercially made main dishes like hash, meat
pies and frozen dinners with more than 700 mg
of sodium per serving
- Cheeses and buttermilk
- Seasoned salts, meat tenderizers and MSG
- Ketchup, mayonnaise, sauces and salad dressings
What else can I do?
Avoid adding table salt to foods.
Use salt substitutes (with your doctor’s approval)
or herbs and spices.
Eat fresh lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, egg whites and tuna canned in water.
Choose unsalted nuts and low-sodium peanut butter.
Cook dried peas and beans.
Use products made without added salt; try
low-sodium bouillon and soups and unsalted,
Rinse canned vegetables, beans and shellfish to
What are the sources of sodium?
Most of the sodium in our diets comes from adding it when food is being prepared. Pay attention to food labels, because they tell how much sodium is in food products.
Here’s a list of sodium compounds to limit in your diet:
Salt (sodium chloride or NaCl)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Any compound that has “sodium” or “Na” in its name
Source: American Heart Association