Sodium in Foods, Tips to Reduce Salt Intake
Recommended Daily Amount

Article by Diet Bites

How the Body Uses Sodium

Sodium, derived most commonly from table salt, is used by the body to: balance water, generate electrical messages necessary for muscle contraction and nerve transmission, and to control heart rhythms.  

It is vital to the body's existence, yet too much can present serious health conditions.

Symptoms of Too Much Sodium in the Body

The chief symptoms of excess sodium intake are swelling and a decrease in urine output.  

Salt goes hand in hand with heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke so it's wise to know just how much sodium we're sprinkling on Mother Nature's Pure Harvest.

Simply reducing your intake can do all sorts of wonderful things to our bodies - from lowering blood pressure to preventing water retention which translates into pounds on the scales - though temporary pounds they might be.

circle03_skyblue.gif The USDA Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Sodium Intake equals no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day, which is just a tab more than a teaspoon of table salt.  Of course, body size and weight also play an important element in the Sodium Factor, so 2,400 milligrams per day may be too much for the smaller than average individual.

Natural Food Sources

The daily diet tends to contain adequate sodium to meet daily requirements. The following foods are just a few examples of foods rich in this element - naturally.

*Natural foods high in sodium include:

Beets - 40 mg per 1/2 cup, boiled
Celery - 50 mg per 1/2 cup, raw

Spinach - 65 mg per 1/2 cup, boiled

Kelp - 65 mg per 1/2 cup, raw

Swiss Chard - 160 mg per 1/2 cup, boiled

Beet Greens - 175 mg per 1/2 cup, boiled

Oysters - 190 mg per 3 ounces, steamed

Shrimp - 195 mg per 3 ounces, steamed

Wakame - 245 mg per 1 ounce, raw

Whelks - 350 mg per 3 ounces, steamed

*Rounded to nearest 10th

Processed foods high in salt include:

Pickled foods such as olives, pickles, beets & pig feet; smoked fish, cheese and of course, salt. Most processed foods contain high levels of sodium - from chips to dips - so be sure to check those labels.

Sodium Content of Basic Foods, Fast Foods, Beverages

Content varies from product to product, recipe to recipe.

Fruits, Pastas, Vegetables, Breads, Candy, Jams, Dairy, Oils

Fruit | Grains, Pasta, Cereals | Vegetables | Breads - Bagels, Rolls, Muffins, Cornbread | Dairy Products - Cheese, Butter, Eggs, Milk | Beer & Beverages | Fish & Shellfish | Protein Rich Foods | Sodium in Fast Foods | Sodium in Tea & Coffee | McDonald's: Sodium in Menu Selections | Sodium in Beef | Fast Food, Salt Content | Daily Salt Intake | Alcoholic Beverages | Candy | Beverages, Popular Drinks | Fruit, Vegetable Juices | Breakfast Foods | Condiments | Desserts | Jams | Cooking Oils | Popular Meals | Pork | Poultry | KFC Menu | Long John Silvers Menu | Pizza Hut Menu | Sonic Menu | Soups, Stews | Subway Restaurant | Taco Bell | Wendy's | Sodium in Celery | Sodium in Shrimp | Sodium in Bananas | Sodium in Pickles

Tips to Reduce Salt in the Diet

pin_blue.gif Rather than sprinkling it on, grab your measuring spoons - particularly when you're adding it to a recipe.  Keep in mind that 1 teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 milligrams of sodium - just shy of the USDA daily recommendation.

pin_blue.gif For processed foods, check labels for content.

pin_blue.gif Reach for the herbs and spices rather than the old shaker.

pin_blue.gif When dining out, request less in your entrees.

pin_blue.gif If you find that you have overdosed on salt, reach for water which will help get rid of the excess water weight faster.  Take care not to overdo on water intake which can also have serious consequences.  RDA - 8 cups of water per day.

Ethnic Breakdown - Average Salt Consumption Based on Ethnicity*


Amount Based on Food Groups*

Food Source

Percent of Sodium



Drinks, Sugars, Sweets


Fats, Oils              


Milk Products           






Grain Products         



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