Americans have a taste for salt (or sodium), which plays a role in high blood pressure. Everyone, including kids, should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Adults age 51 and older, African Americans of any age, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should further lower their sodium levels to 1,500 mg a day.
Most of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods, such as pizza; cured meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and cold cuts; and ready-to-eat foods, like canned soups. To minimize how much sodium you have each day:
- Eat fewer processed foods, in smaller portions.
- Read nutrition labels to keep track of how much sodium is in your food.
- Have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are usually low in sodium.
- Skip the salt when cooking and try other seasonings.