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Johns Hopkins Health - Sodium-Restricted Diet Can Help in Treating Hypertension

Summer 2011
Issue No. 13

Sodium-Restricted Diet Can Help in Treating Hypertension

Date: July 22, 2011

salt shaker

Sodium intake is one of the leading drivers of high blood pressure (hypertension). The main source of sodium in Americans’ diets is processed foods, especially baked goods and cereals, such as bread, breakfast cereals, muffins and cakes. In fact, the average American gets one-third of his or her daily requirement by consuming those types of foods.

Generally, reducing sodium in the diet is a healthy choice for most people. Ideally, you should try to keep your intake under 1,500 milligrams per day. That is quite low for the average person, but it tells you just what an important role sodium plays in cardiovascular health.

Always check your food’s nutrition labels for sodium content and keep track throughout the day of how much you are consuming. A good rule of thumb is that individual food products should contain no more than 200 mg per serving, while meals should contain less than 600 mg total.

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