Is Your Salad High in Sodium?

It’s no secret—most Americans eat too much salt.  Salt contains sodium, which is directly connected to high blood pressure. Most sodium intake is not coming from your salt shaker. Instead, more than 75% of dietary sodium in the body is the result of eating pre-packaged or restaurant foods, including “healthy” options such as salad.

“A high-sodium diet attracts water and pulls it into the blood stream, increasing blood volume,” said Good Samaritan Registered Dietitian Gerard Mure, RD. “Over time, this excess amount of water increases blood pressure.”

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common issue affecting approximately one in three adults. It damages organs and forces the heart to work even harder. Eating less sodium can help to reduce hypertension.

High-sodium warnings in restaurant menus have become the latest debate in major cities around the US. New York City’s Health Department has recently pushed for all chain restaurants to warn customers about their products that are high in salt. This would affect any item that contains more than the recommended daily limit. If this measure passes, New York City would become the first in the nation to require these high-sodium labels.

So how much sodium should you be consuming daily? “Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average adult reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mgs per day, or one teaspoon of salt,” said Gerard Mure. Those at high risk for hypertension, including people with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, African-Americans and/or ages 51 and older should reduce intake to around 1,500 mg per day. Surprisingly, a majority of Americans, on average, eat more than 3,300 mg of sodium per day.