HEART DISEASE AND STROKE PREVENTION PROGRAM
Blood Pressure: Salt/Sodium
Blood Pressure Man
Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. If you are over 51, have high blood pressure, or are African American you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
 
Sodium and You  

We all need some salt, also known as sodium, to keep our bodies working. But how much salt is healthy? Research finds that 1,500
mg (or about 2/3 tsp) of salt each day is healthy for people who:

  • have high blood pressure
  • are over 51
  • are African American
  • have diabetes
  • have chronic kidney disease

For everyone else, 2,300 mg of salt each day or less is healthy.

Where does the salt in our diet come from?
Most of the salt we eat is from processed/prepared foods and
restaurant foods. Only a small amount of salt comes from cooking
or adding salt at the table. The salt we eat comes from:

  • 77% processed and prepared foods (such as restaurant foods, frozen meals, and food out of a box such as cereal,
    chips, sauces, crackers, etc.)
  • 12% naturally found in food
  • 6% added while eating (from the salt shaker)
  • 5% added while cooking

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Salt Intake Widget.
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Salt and High Blood Pressure  

Too much salt raises blood pressure. High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease,
kidney disease, and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death. Eating less salt and lowering your blood pressure can also prevent high blood pressure later in life,
even if you don’t have high blood pressure now.

   
Additional Resources  

Sodium: Tracking Down the Salt in Foods

Change Your Salty Ways in Only 21 Days with this helpful handout from the American Heart Association.

Find tips on eating less salt at restaurants and at home in our Sodium and You handout.

Learn about the hidden sources of salt in the diet and what you can do about it in CDC's new fact sheet Shocking Salt-tistics.

Watch Salt Matters: Preserving Choice, Protecting Health to learn how to make healthy food
choices while lowering salt intake.

Two-minute version

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CDC Video Player.
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15-minute Version