Americans consume too much sodium (salt) from packaged foods. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) launched a new campaign yesterday to promote lower sodium intake. The goal is for consumers to read and compare food labels to make lower sodium options.

Most of our sodium comes from packaged foods – even from those that do not taste salty. Sodium is used in many foods as a preservative so it is important to look at the nutrition label to get a good idea of how much sodium is in each serving of the food products we are looking to purchase. Reducing sodium in your diet can lower your blood pressure, which in turn, lowers the risk for a heart attack or stroke.

People of all ages are consuming too much sodium. It is believed that 90% of Americans have more sodium than is needed on a daily basis. The recommended amount for a healthy person per day is 2,300 milligrams (mg), for those 51 or older, African Americans or those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should have 1,500 mg per day. Remember that a teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium and the average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium a day, much more than is necessary. To lower your intake of sodium, read food labels when food shopping and choose fresh foods over canned or packaged foods. Keep in mind that certain flavorings, such as adobo, sazon, garlic salt or lemon pepper, have salt in them already. Gradually cut back from these products to allow for taste adjustment and replace them with more fresh herbs and spices.

Please refer to this link from the NYC DOHMH for more information.

Also refer to the God’s Love fact sheet on nutrition and high blood pressure which you can find here in English, Spanish and Chinese.