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The Dietary Guidelines recommend that the average American should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day – which is about 1 teaspoon of table salt. People who have hypertension or are middle-aged and older should limit their daily salt intake to 1,500 milligrams.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, about 10% of our food intake is made up of natural salt (sodium). The average American tends to add another 5-10% while at the table or cooking, and 75% of our total salt intake is from processed foods and salt added to our meals at restaurants.
To help us understand why we need to monitor our sodium consumption, Mary Suarez, Outpatient Dietitian at NorthShore, explains what too much salt intake can do to the body:
While it is not easy to know exactly how much salt you consume in your diet, Mary suggests these steps to make it more manageable:
Where was the most surprising place that you found sodium lurking in your diet?