Where's the Salt

Significant evidence links excess sodium intake with high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.  The Heart Failure Society of America recommends  <2000 mg for patients with moderate to severe HF symptoms.

Table salt is a combination of two minerals — about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. Here are the approximate amounts of sodium in a given amount of salt:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium

  • More than 70% of the sodium we consume comes from packaged, prepared and restaurant foods. The rest of the sodium in the diet occurs naturally in food (about 15 percent) or is added when we’re cooking food or sitting down to eat (about 11 percent). So even if you never use the salt shaker, you’re probably getting too much sodium.