Updated: Aug 30, 2022
Sodium is a mineral that is necessary in our diet. It is present naturally in foods such as seafood, celery and beets. Processed foods such as deli meats, canned soups and spice mixes contain sodium. It can be added to baking as sodium bicarbonate in baking powder and baking soda, and it is even present in drinking water.
Most people are aware of sodium in the form of table salt. Common table salt is made up of about 40% sodium and 60% chlorine. That means that just a little less than half of every teaspoon of salt is sodium.
There are 2300 milligrams of sodium in every teaspoon of table salt. It is most often consumed in the form of table salt. “Salted,” “sea salt,” “reduced salt,” “lightly salted,” “low sodium,” “sodium free” and “salt free” are just some of the common terms on food product labels. We only need 1 tsp. a day or 2,400 milligrams. Most of us get our sodium in the form of salt. When we consume too much salt it forces the body to retain excess fluid; that in turn raises our blood pressure and makes it more difficult for the heart to do its job properly.
We all can benefit from lowering our sodium intake even if we have not yet been diagnosed as hypertensive. But, remember some salt is necessary. It is the primary source of Iodine in the American diet and without Iodine the thyroid gland doesn’t work properly.
How to reduce your sodium intake:
Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
Limit the amount of salty snacks you eat, like chips and pretzels.
Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
Select unsalted, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses, as well as low-fat yogurt.
When dining ask, specify that you want your dishes prepared without added salt.
Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of food.
Keep track of your daily intake by reading labels. Remember your budget for one day is 2,400 milligrams. Spend it wisely.
Never, never salt food before you taste it.
QUICK TIP: Sodium is very important for normal body functions. It works as an electrolyte and helps to control the fluids in the body by pumping water in and out of cells. Sodium also helps to regulate the cells by transporting nutrients them. Blood pressure is also controlled by sodium.
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure while not enough sodium can result in low blood pressure. A lack of sodium can result in headaches, nausea, dizziness and weakness.
It is important to include sodium in a healthy diet but at the same time to pay attention that sodium intake does not exceed the daily recommended limits.