Salt added to the table and in cooking provides only a small proportion of the total sodium that Americans consume. Most sodium comes from salt added during food processing, which ends up in pre-packaged foods such as cured meats, cheeses, soups and marinades. On average, the higher our intake of sodium is, the higher our blood pressure becomes.
Recommended Sodium Intake
The estimated average intake of sodium for all Americans ages 2 years and older is approximately 3,400mg per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends reducing daily sodium intake to less than 2,300mg (milligrams) and further reducing intake to 1,500 mg for people who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or who have hypertension, Diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Cutting our sodium intake in half is no easy task, but the first place to start is to reduce the amount of processed foods we choose to consume and to be aware of high salt foods in restaurants and fast foods. It's also critical to learn how to read and understand a food label.