Daily Sodium Intake - Your Online Source for Information on Sodium
Your daily sodium intake is determined by many things. Your overall health, your blood pressure and other factors will determine how much sodium you can safely take in each day.
The current recommendation, with no health risks outstanding, is for you to consume less than 2400 milligrams of sodium a day. This is roughly equivalent to one teaspoon of salt a day.
High blood pressure is an important concern when determining what your adjusted RDA of sodium should be. If you suffer from high blood pressure, doctors generally agree that you should consume no more than 1500 milligrams of sodium a day. This lower amount can help your blood pressure medications work better, and may actually bring down blood pressure on its own.
Not surprisingly, the actual daily sodium intake in the United States is much higher than the recommended intake – between 4,000 and 5,000 milligrams a day. This is one of the reasons that the United States has such an obesity problem in the population as a whole.
The FDA and the heart association have not recommended a daily sodium intake level for children. But since children develop eating habits – good or bad – that will last their whole life, it is recommended that children have only a moderate sodium intake per day.
Interestingly, the daily sodium intake recommendation in the United Kingdom is only 1600 milligrams a day, as compared to the 2400 milligrams allowed in the United States.
Does everyone need to take in less salt on a daily basis? Harvard Medical School has tackled the question, and has stated in the Harvard Heart Letter, that the effects of sodium depend on factors including your genes, age and overall medical condition.
Generally, they stated that if you are under age 50, in good health, and if your blood pressure is in a healthy range, you do not need to be as concerned about the amount of sodium in your daily diet. They go on to explain that if you are an elderly person with diabetes or high blood pressure, you should limit your salt intake to 2300- 2400 milligrams a day. If you have a history of heart failure or kidney disease, you should keep your daily sodium intake below 2000 milligrams per day.
The Harvard Health Letter continues on, offering basic tips for you while you're planning your healthy diet:
Look over labels on food and be sure to choose foods low in sodium.
Don't over-use foods that are canned, frozen or processed.
Inquire about how much salt a restaurant uses when eating out. (You can request unsalted fries, for example, even at fast food restaurants.)
Do more cooking using spices and herbs to season food.
All of these things will help you to regulate your daily sodium intake, and keep it within healthy limits.