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Healthy Sodium Intake Amounts

Written by Diet Bites


Salt Intake Required to Support Life

Without salt we'd die. But with too much, we may die an early death - years before our time.

High sodium intake has been associated with many health ills - from triggering or worsening high blood pressure to strokes to contributing to heart disease. And we-Americans tend to love our salt shakers a wee-bit too much.

Current Recommended Intake for Healthy Adults

For healthy adults the current recommendation is about a teaspoon per day. However, Americans easily exceed these amounts.

It's not only by over-use of the salt shaker. Most foods are naturally mined with salt. And it's quite an addictive substance. The more that we consume, the more that we crave. And lucky for us - it's quite an inexpensive seasoning.

Food & Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine Establishes Adequate Intake Levels

Back in 2004 the board established consumption levels for salt which were based on the amounts necessary to replace that which was lost due to sweating. This data was based on moderately healthy adults.

Adequate Daily Intake for Sodium

With Estimated Sodium Chloride [Salt] Equivalence

Life Stage

Age

Males & Females
Sodium [g/day]

Salt [g/day]

Salt [mg/day]

Infants 0 - 6 months

0.12

0.30

300.0

  7 - 12 months

0.37

0.93

930.0

Children 1 - 3 years

1.0

2.5

2500.0

  4 - 8 years

1.2

3.0

3000.0

  9 - 13 years

1.5

3.8

3800.0

Adolescents 14 - 18 years

1.5

3.8

3800.0

Adults 19 - 50 years

1.5

3.8

3800.0

  51 - 70 years

1.3

3.3

3300.0

  71 years & Older

1.2

3.0

3000.0

Pregnancy 14 - 50 years

1.5

3.8

3800.0

Breast Feeding 14 - 50 years

1.5

3.8

3800.0

Diseases Associated With Excessive Sodium Intake & Foods High in Salt Content

Gastric cancer, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and high blood pressure.


The later can have a domino effect as high blood pressure places a strain on the heart and other vital organs.

Foods that are high in salt content include: fast food selections, bread - both whole wheat and white, cereals, pickles, olives, franks, most battered proteins, pretzels, macaroni and cheese, most non-sodium-reduced soups, chili and stews.

Tips to Reduce Salt in the Daily Diet

1. Eliminate highly processed foods from your diet. The more processed the food, the more likely it is to contain more salt.

2. Replace the processed foods with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits can be consumed raw - as well as many vegetables. For those which require cooking, consider using a steam method. Add minimal margarine because it also contains high levels of sodium.

3. Avoid fast foods as well as restaurant dining. Menu selections tend to be mined with the white stuff. For example, Subway is considered one of the more healthy choices. However, while excellent in caloric values, sodium content of deli-proteins is excessive. Many contain nitrates which have been linked to causing cancer.

While the 6" Subway Club contains only 310 calories, it also contain a whopping 800 milligrams of sodium. And there are selections which are heftier in salt - such as the 6" Big Hot Pastrami which has 1470 milligrams of sodium.

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