How Much Sodium Should We Eat?
The human body requires about 500 mg of sodium per day, while the average American ingests between 2,300-6,900 mg of sodium in their diet daily. High blood pressure is rarely seen in those who consume less than 1.2 grams (1200 milligrams) of sodium per day. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines reported that no one should ingest more than 2300 mg of sodium/day, or 1 tsp.
The American Heart Association has suggested to reduce this to 1500 mg because it considers our population to be “salt sensitive,” or “special.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the special populations – individuals with hypertension, African-Americans, middle-age, and older adults – now account for 68% of the American population. Because these specific population groups now constitute a majority of the total population, the 1,500mg should apply to all populations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released the same guideline as of June, 2010 – that daily sodium intake be reduced to 1500 mg or less for the entire population.
1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000 mg sodium
Ways to Reduce Sodium
- Eliminate processed table salt and replace with a quality mineral salt like sea salt
- Use quality celtic mineral salts that are mined naturally
- Substitute with Braggs
- Use more spice – flavorful cooking is satisfying, salt simply enhances flavor, it shouldn’t be the flavor
- Umeboshi/Ume vinegar (a few drops only): highly concentrated (1050 mg/tsp) – a little goes a long way making it a good substitute
- Use reduced sodium products if you are buying prepared products: soups, soy sauce, stocks, etc.
- Limit pre-made, processed foods as much as possible – when you purchase stick to quality brands
- Limit canned foods to no salt added – add your own quality salt and control the amount
- No lunchmeat – there’s nothing good for you in it! Eat real meat if you’re a meat eater.
American Heart Association, January 2010