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Decreasing Your Salt Intake

Here's Why:

Eating high-salt foods can raise blood pressure in some people. This also means that lowering the amount of salt that is eaten can lower blood pressure. This can play a part in high blood pressure treatment. Lower salt plus the DASH diet plan may be all that is needed to keep blood pressure under control.

It is not easy to tell who will react to salt in this way. It is also hard to know how much salt is safe for each person. A doctor can help you set a salt goal based on your health.

Here's How:

Salt comes from prepared and processed foods. It may also be called sodium on food labels. Knowing where salt can hide is the first step to lower how much salt you eat.

Major Food Sources

Common high salt foods are:

  • Beef broth
  • Ketchup
  • Canned soups
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Potato chips
  • Salted snack foods
  • Sandwich meats
  • Sauces
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tomato-based sauces, soups, or drinks

Salt can also be found in:

  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Milk products
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Shellfish
  • Soft water

Reading Food Labels

Sodium is listed on all food labels. The package may also have one of these terms:

Food label term Meaning
Sodium free Less than 5 mg/serving
Very low sodium 35 mg or less/serving
Low sodium 140 mg or less/serving
Reduced sodium 25% reduction in sodium content from original product
Unsalted, no salt added, without added salt Processed without salt when salt normally would be used in processing

Keep in mind that a serving may be low in sodium, but a package may have several servings.

Tips to Lower Your Sodium Intake

Other tips to lower your intake are:


American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada


DASH diet. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 15, 2018. Accessed February 4, 2020.

Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: Accessed February 4, 2020.

Hypertension. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated October 3, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2020.

Salt. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated July 11, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2020.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN