The USDA recommends that Americans limit their daily sodium intake to less than 2300 mg (about a teaspoon) a day for most people and that those with prehypertension or hypertension would further benefit by limiting their sodium intake to less than 1500 mg a day.
TIP: Just ¼ teaspoon of salt contains 540mg of sodium, so avoid table salt as often as possible.
Most processed, instant and convenience foods (canned goods) are high in sodium. As a general rule avoid these foods:
• Cheese spreads and processed cheeses
• Deli meats
• “TV” or frozen dinners
• Prepackaged macaroni or rice dinners
• Seasoning mixes
• Tomato juice or V8
TIP: Be aware that foods labeled low sodium are not always a low-sodium food. Always check the serving size on the package.
Did you know that most canned chicken soup contains 1100mg of sodium?
Avoid these seasonings and sauces:
• Celery salt
• Sea salt*
• Steak sauce (like A1)
• Worcestershire sauce
• Garlic salt
• Soy sauce
• Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
• Onion salt
• Morton’s lite salt mixture
* Sea salt vs. salt: These salts have the same basic nutritional value. The real difference is taste, texture and processing, not the chemical make-up. The same is true when comparing Kosher salt to salt. The difference in sodium content between the different types of salt is negligible.
Bottom Line: Flavor foods without salt. Look for seasonings or herb mixes that do not contain sodium. For example, choose garlic powder over garlic salt. Use fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice to kick up the flavor. Good bouillon alternatives include Herb-Ox bouillon and Wyler's instant bouillon.
Written by: Jackie Santiago, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice
2. American Heart Association