Skip to main content

About Heart Disease & Stroke

Tracking Down the Salt in Food with Professor Saul T.

Back »

Tracking Down the Salt in Food with Professor Saul T.

[Picture of: middle-aged professor pointing at a chalkboard] Too much sodium increases your risk for high blood pressure, and high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

[Picture of: blood pressure cuff] By taking the right steps to reduce your sodium intake, your blood pressure can begin decreasing within weeks.

[Picture of: 9 forks in one color and 1 fork in another color] About 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet.

Six in 10 adults should aim for 1,500 milligrams a day; others for 2,300 milligrams.

Sodium Adds Up

[Picture of: lineup of four foods from the left to right with sodium content in milligrams underneath: a bag of potato chips, a slice of white bread, a bowl of cereal, and a cooked whole chicken, while the professor peeks out from the right] Sodium levels in the same food can vary widely. Fat-free chips can have 180 milligrams per ounce; white bread, up to 230 milligrams per slice; ready-to-eat cereal, 250 milligrams per cup; chicken breast with added solution, up to 330 milligrams per 4 ounces.

Foods that you eat several times a day can add up to a lot of sodium, even if each serving is not high in sodium.

Regular vs. Lower Sodium

[Picture of: bowl of soup with a nutrition label on the left indicating regular soup and a nutrition label on the right indicating lower sodium soup] Read Nutrition labels to find the lowest sodium options. A bowl of regular chicken noodle soup can have 840 milligrams of sodium, but lower sodium chicken noodle soup can have 360 milligrams of sodium.

Tips you can use to reduce sodium:


[Picture of: the professor opening a serving dish] Most of the sodium we eat comes from foods prepared in restaurants and processed foods (not from the salt shaker).



Note: PDF documents available from this page require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader®.