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Sodium plays a vital role in the body. It can affect fluids and blood pressure. Most people consume more sodium than is needed which can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
When too much sodium is eaten, more water has to stay in the body to help dilute the sodium out into the bloodstream. This lowers the kidney’s ability to excrete sodium and water, causing your blood vessels to become “waterlogged.”
When this happens, more pressure is needed to pump blood through the body. The blood vessels constrict (become smaller), which increases blood pressure.
How much should I eat?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. Most adults consume more than 3,400 mg each day.
One teaspoon of salt contains 2,200 mg of sodium. Salt added at the dinner table is important to watch, but the biggest sodium contributor in the American diet is processed foods and restaurant meals.
Product Label Reading Tips
Look to the front of the label for any special health claims about the product.
Sodium free: less than 5 mg per serving
Very low sodium: less than 35 mg per serving
Low sodium: 140 mg or less
Reduced or less sodium: 25% less sodium than the regular version
Nutrition Fact Label
Serving Size: Here’s where you find out what equals a serving and how many servings are in a box.
Sodium: This is where you will find out how many milligrams of sodium are in the product. Try to look for foods with less than 50% of the daily value per serving.
Percent Daily Value: Tells if the nutrients in a certain food add a lot or a little to your total daily diet. There is 65 mg of sodium in this cereal with milk. This is 3% of your total daily value, which means you have 97% left in the foods you eat that day.