What is the Recommended Salt Intake? Find Out!

Adding table salt to food

Sodium is a mineral that your body needs to function properly. But eating too much sodium may, in time, raise your blood pressure. And high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and kidney disease

Most people consume too much salt. Salt intake of fewer than 5 grams per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and coronary heart attack.

An estimated 2.5 million deaths could be prevented each year if global salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level.

Recommendations for salt reduction as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) include:

For adults: 

WHO recommends that adults consume less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day.

For children: 

WHO recommends that it should be less than the adult dose. This recommendation for children does not address the period of exclusive breastfeeding (0–6 months) or the period of complementary feeding with continued breastfeeding (6–24 months).

One way to limit the amount of sodium you eat is to check the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label when buying food. The sodium content in similar foods can vary a lot. For instance, the sodium content in regular tomato soup maybe 700 mg per cup in one brand and 1100 mg per cup in another brand. Choosing brands with lower sodium content can be one way to lower the amount of sodium you eat.

Also, keep in mind that not all sodium in food is in the form of salt. Other food ingredients also contain sodium, such as:

»» Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

»» Baking soda

»» Baking powder

»» Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite (used as preservatives in foods such as luncheon meats)

Another way to limit sodium is to use spices other than salt. There are plenty of salt-free spice combinations that you can find in your grocery store. It may take a while for you to get used to the taste. But give it time. After a while, you may like them better than salt.

Besides limiting the amount of sodium you eat, it is also a good idea to eat foods rich in potassium. A potassium-rich diet blunts the harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure. Aim to eat 4700 mg of potassium a day.

All salt that is consumed should be iodized or “fortified” with iodine, which is essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child and optimizing people’s mental function in general.

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