People need a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium may be harmful to your health. According to the American Dietary Guidelines , a high-sodium diet increases the risk of high blood pressure , which is the main cause of stroke and heart disease .
Most dietary sodium (over 70%) comes from edible packaging and prepared foods , not from salt added during cooking or eating. Many foods contain too much sodium, so the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cooperates with the food industry to reasonably reduce the sodium content in various foods. Many packaged foods have sodium, but you can use the nutrition label to reduce your daily sodium intake .
Look at the label!
Use nutrition labels to make informed decisions!
- Know the daily value. The daily value is the reference amount of nutrients to be consumed per day or less. The daily value of sodium should be less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
- Use% Daily Value (%DV) as a tool. %DV is the percentage of the daily value of each nutrient in a food, and shows how many nutrients occupy the total daily diet.
Use %DV to determine whether a serving of food has high or low sodium content, and compare and select foods that have less than 100% of the DV each day .
As a general guide: 5% DV per serving of sodium or less is considered low, and 20% DV per serving of sodium or higher is considered high.
- Pay attention to the weight. The nutritional information listed on the nutrition label is usually based on a serving. Check the serving size and the number of servings you eat or drink to determine the amount of sodium you are ingesting.
Food choices are important!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , about half of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from the following foods :
- Bread and rolls
- Sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs
- Cold cuts and cured meats (ham and turkey)
- Burritos and Tortillas
- Snacks (fries, biscuits)
- Chicken (including processed chicken)
- Cheese (including processed cheese)
- Egg and omelet
The sodium content of similar types of food may vary greatly. Please use the nutrition label to compare products, and don’t forget to check the serving size for an accurate comparison.
Salt and sodium: definition
The terms "salt" and "sodium" are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Salt (also called by the chemical name sodium chloride) is a crystalline compound with rich properties. Sodium is a mineral and one of the chemical elements found in salt.
Sodium as a food ingredient
Sodium has many uses as a food ingredient, such as curing meat, baking, thickening, retaining moisture, enhancing flavor (including flavors of other ingredients), and as a preservative. Some common food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium nitrite and sodium benzoate, also contain sodium, and the sodium content listed on the nutrition label accounts for (less) of the total content .
Surprisingly, the sodium content of some non-salty foods remains high, which is why only a judge can not taste food sodium content accurate method of reason. For example, although certain foods with high sodium content (such as kimchi and soy sauce) taste salty, there are also many foods (such as cereals and cakes) that contain sodium but are not salty. Similarly, even if your personal consumption of sodium may not be high, certain foods (such as bread) that may be consumed multiple times throughout the day may accumulate large amounts of sodium during the course of the day.
Check the nutrition claim in the packaging
You can also check the nutrient declarations on food and beverage packaging to quickly identify foods with lower sodium content. The following is a guide to common requirements and their meaning:
What does it mean
Sodium/ per 100g
|Salt-free/sodium-free||Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving||0-5mg|
|Very low sodium||35 mg or less of sodium per serving||0-35mg|
|Low sodium||140 mg or less of sodium per serving||0-140mg|
|Less sodium||Sodium is at least 25% less than ordinary products|
|Slight sodium/salt||Sodium is at least 50% less than ordinary products|
|No added salt||No salt is added during processing-unless otherwise noted, these products may not be salt-free/sodium-free|
Sodium and blood pressure
Sodium attracts water, and a high-sodium diet draws water into the blood, which increases blood volume, which in turn increases blood pressure . Hypertension (also called hypertension ) refers to a state where blood pressure remains elevated over time. High blood pressure can overwork the heart, and strong blood flow can damage arteries and organs (such as the heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes). Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and blindness. In addition, with age, blood pressure usually rises, thus limiting sodium intake each year becomes more and more important.
Know your quantity
Sodium is an essential nutrient. The human body needs relatively little sodium (provided that it does not sweat a lot) to maintain fluid balance and keep muscles and nerves running smoothly. However, most people eat too much, they may not even know.
The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. But the "American Dietary Guidelines" recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt!
10 simple tips to reduce sodium consumption
Understanding sodium in food and exploring new ways to prepare food can help you achieve your sodium goals. And, if you follow these tips to reduce the amount of sodium consumed, the "taste" of sodium will gradually decrease over time-so in the end, you might not even miss it!
- Read the nutrition label
comparison and choose foods that consume less than 100% DV (less than 2,300 mg) of sodium per day.
- When you can
limit the packaged sauces, blends, and "ready-to-eat" products (including seasoned rice, instant noodles, and ready-made noodles) , prepare your own food .
- Increasing flavor without adding sodium
limits the amount of salt added to food during cooking, baking, or on the table. Try to use salt-free seasonings, herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to the food.
- Buy fresh food and
choose fresh meat, poultry and seafood instead of processed varieties. In addition, check the packaging of fresh meat and poultry to see if brine or brine has been added.
- Pay attention to your vegetables.
Buy fresh, frozen (no sauces or seasonings) or low-sodium or salt-free canned vegetables.
- Rinse sodium-containing canned foods such as beans, tuna and vegetables with sodium salt before eating . This will remove some of the sodium.
- Reduce the salt in your snacks.
Choose low-sodium or unsalted nuts, seeds, and snack products (such as potato chips and pretzels), or switch to carrots or celery sticks.
- Consider that your seasoning
sodium will accumulate. Choose light or reduced-sodium seasonings, add oil and vinegar to the salad instead of bottled seasonings, and use only a small amount of seasonings in the seasoning bag instead of the entire package.
- Reducing servings and
reducing food means reducing sodium. Prepare smaller portions at home and consume less food when dining out-choose smaller portions, split the main course with friends or take home a meal.
- Choosing low-sodium foods in restaurants
requires that you prepare foods that do not contain salt, and require sauces and salad dressings on the "side", and then use them sparingly. You can also ask if there is nutritional information, and then choose the option with lower sodium content