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How much sodium should a healthy adult consume in a day?

Having high blood pressure in childhood sets the stage for entering adulthood with the same health issue. Since being overweight and consuming too much dietary sodium are both correlated with higher blood pressure, many Americans are at risk.

Currently, over 65 percent of Americans are overweight and the majority of us are also consuming over 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily, on average. This amount of sodium is more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended daily for individuals ages 9 to 50. Keep in mind that those who are 51 to 70 years of age should consume only 1,300 milligrams and those over 70 years of age, only 1,200 milligrams of sodium daily. Processed foods are the biggest sources of sodium in our diets.

While losing excess weight and cutting back on dietary sodium can have a dramatic impact on lowering high blood pressure, there are also certain foods that you can eat that may also help. The following advice may help you eat to beat high blood pressure:

Pump up the Potassium-Rich Foods in Your Diet: A diet adequate in potassium lowers blood pressure by causing the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Ridding the body of sodium will help lower blood pressure. Potatoes, orange juice, yogurt, bananas, and beans are all potassium powerhouses. For a list of more potassium-rich foods and tips on how to get more of them in your diet, please read a previous blog post.

Eat at Least 4.5 cups of Fruits and Veggies Daily: Mother Nature's finest are naturally low in sodium and rich in potassium, making them a dynamic duo. Because fruits and veggies are also rich in fiber and water, they will "fill you up before they fill you out".
Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine
Up to 2,400 mg of your total calories per day should be sodium to maintain optimal health and control weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.