Salt and Sodium
Eating less salt is good for everyone’s health. Choose more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
Americans consume one-and-a-half or more teaspoons of salt a day. That’s far more than is needed to satisfy the body’s need for sodium, the main element we get from salt. And that’s a big problem: A high-sodium diet can raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Learn what individuals, chefs, and organizations can do right now to reduce sodium. Readfrom the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and The Culinary Institute of America.
The government says we should limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams, and that people at high risk of health problems from salt should make 1,500 milligrams their limit. Who’s at high risk? Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults! The high-risk group includes people who are over age 40, people who have high blood pressure or slightly elevated blood pressure, people who have diabetes, and African Americans.
If we get used to eating high-salt diets in childhood, it can be harder to cut back later on. That’s why it’s a smart choice for everyone to make 1,500 milligrams their daily sodium budget.
Read more about why.
Read more about The Institute of Medicine’sthat offers big-picture strategies for reining in America’s salt habit.
More reason to cut back on sodium: A large new study that finds that too much sodium and too little potassium increases the risk of death.
Learn how to lower sodium and boost potassium in your diet.
Read why a new sodium study from JAMA is flawed—and why lowering salt and sodium lowers the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Watch a video discussion on the importance of bicycling and walking in preventing and alleviating hypertension.
Read about Harvard’ new Healthy Eating Plate, which pumps up the produce and ditches high-salt processed meats.
The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.