Table salt–the most common form of salt–is a combination of sodium and chloride. It is used to preserve food and enhance flavor. Overeating foods with salt can increase your risk for high blood pressure and other diseases.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg), or about 1 teaspoon) a day of sodium for most adults. Despite this, Americans tend to eat more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day! 
Some people should get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day: 
The nutrition facts label tells you how much sodium is in that food per serving. It also tells you what percentage the sodium makes up of the recommended maximum for the day (2300 mg). 5% daily value or less of sodium per serving is considered low, and 20% daily value or more of sodium per serving is considered high.
As you eat throughout the day, add up the percentages. Make sure you don’t go over 100%. For those who should get no more than 1,500 mg a day, try not to go over 65%.
Did you know that more than 70% of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged, prepared, and food purchased away from home (think fast food, restaurants, gas station deli, etc. ) — not the saltshaker?
About half of the sodium consumed by Americans comes from the following foods. The items that have been bolded are areas where you might not have expected sodium to be found:
Other areas where sodium hides are:
Make sure to check the nutrition facts label to see the percentage of your daily value for sodium for each of these items.
Look at the last packaged food item you ate, whether it’s a granola bar wrapper or a handful of cheese crackers from a box. Find the sodium section on the nutrition facts label and look at the percentage of your daily value of sodium that one serving had.
Was it more or less than 5%? Was it more or less than 20%? If it was high, are there any low-sodium versions of your snack that you could have next time?
Which of the following would be the lowest sodium option for dinner? Read the nutrition facts label and see what the percentage daily value for sodium is. Bonus points: check out the serving size at the top of the label. Are you surprised by how much sodium is in that serving size?
Written by Taylor Newman, Ph.D. Candidate | Edited by Laurel Sanville, MS, RDN, LD
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