Almost all foods contain sodium, or salt, naturally or as an ingredient. But you don't always know it's there, or how much is there. Here are some tips to help you find sodium.
Know what "low sodium' means
Labels on foods often claim that the food is "low-sodium" or something similar. Learn what these claims mean:
"Unsalted" means there is no sodium added to the food. But the food may still contain sodium naturally.
"Sodium-free" means a serving has less than 5 milligrams (mg) of sodium.
"Very low sodium" means a serving has 35 mg or less of sodium.
"Low sodium" means a serving has 140 mg or less of sodium.
"Light sodium" and "reduced sodium" mean that there is 25% less sodium than what the food normally has. This is still usually too much sodium. Try not to buy foods with either of these on the label.
Count milligrams of sodium
You can limit sodium in your diet by counting the milligrams of it in everything you eat. This method allows more flexibility in your diet. If you eat one high-sodium food, you can balance it with very low-sodium foods during the rest of the day.
Sodium can be found in many substances. Many canned and other processed
foods and some medicines can contain sodium.
Hidden sodium in foods
Check the ingredient list on food labels for the word "sodium." Be
careful about using products that have these ingredients:
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG (often added to
Sodium in medicines
Check your medicines. Sodium may be an ingredient.
Prescription medicines. Talk with your doctor about
whether the medicines you take contain sodium.
Nonprescription medicines. Many medicines that you
can buy without a prescription contain sodium. Read the labels. If you aren't
sure if a medicine contains sodium, talk with a pharmacist. Be sure to
check with your doctor before taking any new nonprescription
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.