Sodium is a mineral found in many foods. We need it for things our bodies do, such as moving muscles and balancing water. When you stick to a 2 gram (2,000 milligrams [mg]) way of eating, you will be lowering the foods you eat that have it.
Eating this way can put off or lower high blood pressure and holding in excess water. These can happen with things like heart failure and kidney problems. The foods you need to watch are table salt, processed foods, dressings, seasonings, fast foods, and preserved foods. Just one teaspoon of salt has 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium.
Some processed foods are canned foods, frozen dinners, snack foods, bagged or boxed starchy foods (seasoned rice, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese), baking mixes, deli meats and cheeses, sausages, and cured or smoked meats.
|Food||Eat this...||Not this...|
|Meats and Beans||
|Fats and Oils||
|Snacks and Condiments||
|Sodium-free||Less than 5 mg per serving|
|Very low sodium||35 mg or less in each serving|
|Low sodium||140 mg or less in each serving|
|Reduced sodium||At least 25% less sodium in each serving than the listed food. If the food has 1,000 mg, the same food made with reduced sodium would have 750 mg. Food that isn't “low sodium.”|
|Light in sodium||50% less than in the main product|
|“No Salt Added” and “Unsalted”||No salt was added. But the food may still have sodium.|
American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American Heart Association
Dietitians of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Choose foods low in sodium. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/healthdisp/pdf/tipsheets/Choose-Foods-Low-in-Sodium.pdf. Accessed February 4, 2021.
Dietary considerations for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/dietary-considerations-for-cardiovascular-disease-risk-reduction. Accessed February 4, 2021.
Shaking the salt habit. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Shaking-the-Salt-Habit_UCM_303241_Article.jsp. Accessed February 4, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 2/4/2021