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Sodium - How Much Do You Really Need and Tips on How to Cut Daily Intake


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Many foods already contain more than enough sodium. The majority that the average U. S.individual eats comes from prepared or processed foods. Limiting salt you add to food is not an effective means of cutting back on daily intake.

I just recently read the food label on a brand of water I was drinking. One bottle of the water contained 100 mg. of sodium. After drinking 4 bottles of this brand of bottled water I ended up with 400 milligrams extra sodium each day.

Our bodies need some sodium to function properly. Review the following:

  • helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body

  • transmit nerve impulses

  • influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles

    Our kidneys regulate the amount of sodium kept in the body. When levels are low, the kidneys conserve it. When sodium levels are high, the kidneys excrete the excess amount in urine. Diseases such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease can lead to an inability to regulate sodium.

    The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends daily sodium intake to be between 1,500 and 2,400 milligrams per day for healthy adults.

    Review the following to see how this nutrient sneaks into our diets:

  • Processed and prepared foods: Most in our diet comes from eating process and prepared foods, such as canned vegetables, soups, luncheon meats and frozen foods.

  • Sodium-containing condiments such as table salt and soy sauce

  • Natural sources such as that which occurs naturally in meat, poultry, dairy products and vegetables.

  • Certain brands of bottled water

    When I begin to think about all the ways sodium can sneak into the diet, I realize something as simple as watching for water with the additional amounts is a start for me to reduce excessive intake daily.

    The best way to identify sodium content is to read the food labels.
    Tips on how to cut sodium intake:

  • Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.

  • Fresh meat is lower than luncheon meat, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and ham

  • Select processed foods with reduced sodium

  • Leave out salt in recipes such as casseroles, stews and other main dishes

  • Limit your use of salad dressings, sauces, dips, ketchup, mustard, relish and other high sodium condiments

  • Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to enhance foods

  • Use salt substitutes wisely: Be careful about using too much to achieve the “salty" taste.

    If you will decrease your use of salt gradually your taste buds will adjust and you won't crave that salty taste as much. Start by using no more than ¼ teaspoon daily, then gradually reduce to no salt add-ons, and continue to read your food labels.

    Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

    Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.

    Author: Connie Limon, Trilogy Field Representative. Visit and

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