Alabamians consume too much sodium. High sodium consumption raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke are Alabama's first and third leading cause of death. For information on the use of salt in a health diet, visit Salt Matters: Preserving Choice, Protecting Health. You can also check out our new sodium brochure, Halt the Salt.
Salt and High Blood Pressure
- Research strongly shows a dose-dependent relationship between consuming too much salt and raised levels of blood pressure.
- When salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins to decrease within weeks on average.
- Populations who consume diets low in salt do not experience the increase in blood pressure with age that is seen in most Western countries.
Is It Salt or Is It Sodium?
- Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt.
- The words salt and sodium are not exactly the same, yet these words are often used in place of each other. For example, the Nutrition Facts Panel uses "sodium," whereas the front of the package may say "low salt."
- Ninety percent of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt.
Sodium Consumption and Sodium in Our Food Supply
- The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day (about 1 teaspoon of table salt). Individuals with hypertension, chronic kidney disease, who are African American, and middle-aged and older adults should limit intake to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. These specific populations account for about 70% of adults.
- The average daily sodium intake for Americans age 2 years and older is more than 3,400 mg.
- The majority of sodium consumed is from processed and restaurant foods; only a small portion is used in cooking or added at the table.
Reducing Sodium, Reducing Cardiovascular Disease Burden
- Even if a person does not have high blood pressure, the lower one's blood pressure in general, the lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Sodium intake from processed and restaurant foods contributes to high rates of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Because nearly 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to high blood pressure, decreasing sodium intake could prevent thousands of deaths annually.
Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Salt