Table salt is a combination of two minerals - sodium and chloride Your body needs some sodium to work properly. It helps with the function of nerves and muscles. It also helps to keep the right balance of fluids in your body. Your kidneys control how much sodium is in your body. If you have too much and your kidneys can't get rid it, sodium builds up in your blood. This can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to other health problems.
Most people in the U.S. get more sodium in their diets than they need. A key to healthy eating is choosing foods low in sodium. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that most adults eat less than 2.3 grams per day. That equals about 1 teaspoon of table salt a day. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of salt than others and should eat less. This includes people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney problems, or are African American or over age 50. Reading food labels can help you see how much sodium is in prepared foods.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- Eating Too Much Salt? Ways to Cut Back Gradually (Food and Drug Administration)
- Sodium and Food Sources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Sodium in Your Diet (Food and Drug Administration)
- Sodium: How to Tame Your Salt Habit (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Central Pontine Myelinolysis (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Potassium (Harvard School of Public Health)
- Salty Stuff: Salt, Blood Pressure, and Your Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- Sea Salt vs. Table Salt: What's the Difference? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Tips to Reduce Salt and Sodium (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) - PDF