Even if you don’t use the saltshaker, it’s sneaking into your diet — here’s how.
The statistics are startling: The average adult eats 3,600 mg of sodium a day, or around 1½ teaspoons of salt. That’s more than double the amount experts say most of us should be consuming daily.
The American Heart Association recommends 2300 mg a day for most adults. This is equal to 1 teaspoon of table salt. It can be tough to visualize what that actually looks like in the context of your diet.
Now, you’re probably thinking, I only use a sprinkle of salt here or a dash of salt there; there’s no way I add that much salt to my food every day. But here’s where it gets tricky — more than 75% of the salt in our diets comes from processed, packaged, and restaurant foods. In other words, most of the salt we eat does not come from the salt shaker.
The takeaway: Sprinkling less on your food is a good start. But other changes will make an even bigger impact.
How to Shake Added Salt From Your Diet
To make a major dent in the amount of added salt you’re getting:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that focuses on whole grains and whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and that includes dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts.
- Read food labels and look for lower sodium or no salt added options on canned and packaged foods.
- Cook at home rather than getting takeout or going to a restaurant.
- Cut back on the salt you cook with and add flavor to foods by using low- or no-sodium ingredients like herbs, spices, lemon juice, and vinegar.