Get Label Savvy (Heart Health)
A healthier diet can help your heart, but don’t focus all your attention on cutting fat and controlling your weight. Those things are important, but you should also be monitoring the amount of sodium you consume, since high levels of sodium can raise your blood pressure. Doctors recommend that you begin by limiting your sodium intake to 2400 mg daily, and eventually work your way down to 1500 mg.
While only small amounts of sodium occur naturally in food, processed foods account for most of the salt and sodium in your diet. Look for the following phrases on food packaging. They can help you determine exactly how much sodium you’re consuming.
Sodium-free or salt-free: Less than 5 mg per serving
Very low sodium: 35 mg or less of sodium per serving
Low sodium: 140 mg or less of sodium per serving
Low-sodium meal: 140 mg or less of sodium per 3 1/2 oz (100 g)
Reduced or less sodium: At least 25 percent less sodium than the full-sodium version of the same food
Light in sodium: 50 percent less sodium than the full-sodium version of the same food
Unsalted or no salt added: No salt added to the product during processing
If you have trouble controlling your sodium intake, talk to your doctor or nutritionist. He or she can help you with your dietary needs.