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The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that individuals who have hypertension consume no more than 1500mg of sodium each day. Sodium can hide in unexpected foods and adds up quick when consuming packaged and processed foods. Did you know many beverages have sodium? Even nut butters, salt-injected uncooked chicken, instant oatmeal, and bread contain high amounts of sodium. This is where reading food labels comes into play. A food label can help you understand what is in the food product.

Food labels are written per serving, not per package. Always, always, always check the serving size and then multiply any number you see by x amount of serving consumed (if more than 1 serving was eaten). Keep track of your salt content by charting sodium in the foods you eat or use food labels to help make healthier food decisions. Foods with 140mg of sodium or less are considered low sodium.

Learn more about how to read food labels here.

One way to meet the AHA recommendation and know it, is to keep track of all sodium content for a week or more (when eating your normal everyday diet). Write down the sodium from everything and add it up at the end of the day. If you find you consume more than recommended amount, than it may be time to revisit dietary choices to decrease sodium.

After altering your diet to adhere to low sodium, keep track for one more week to determine if you meet your new goal. You can start by aiming to lower sodium by 100-200 mg each week until you reach 1500mg/day to help you slowly change your palate and get used to less sodium in your food.

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