Salt and Sodium (what’s the difference?)

You know that too much sodium can harm your health. And if you’re like most people, you think that salt and sodium are the same things.

That’s not true.

Sodium is a mineral that has an impact on the human body. Salt is a chemical compound that contains sodium. There’s a big difference!

If you’re trying to cut down on sodium, it’s important for you to understand this difference.

Once you do, you will be able to make smart choices about the food you eat.

Sodium serves a purpose in the way our bodies work:

But too much of a good thing can cause harm, and that’s very true of sodium.

When you take in too much sodium you can retain extra water. This can lead to high blood pressure.

High blood pressure raises the risk of heart problems and stroke.

Salt forms when sodium combines with another mineral called chloride. The chemical makeup of salt is 40% sodium, with the other 60% chloride.

You can try putting away the salt shaker to cut down on sodium, but that won’t get you far.

We get more sodium from processed foods then we get from the salt we put on our food.

The best way to keep the amount of sodium in your diet low is to read food labels and know what they mean.

Food Labels and Sodium

Though your doctor may have given you different instructions, healthy people should keep their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg a day.

If you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, you should drop it to less than 1,500 mg a day.

To get an idea of how much that is, understand that just one teaspoon of salt has 2,300 of sodium.

When reading food labels, check to see how much sodium is in each serving and keep that in mind when eating the contents.

The label of a 2-serving package of food may say that one serving has 750 mg of sodium. That means that if you eat the whole package you have consumed a whole day’s worth of sodium!

It’s also good to know that food packages list their ingredients in order and that salt is not the only thing that contains sodium.

If you’re looking at the ingredient list to watch out for high sodium items, keep your eyes open for hidden sodium:

1. monosodium glutamate (MSG)

2. baking soda

3. baking powder

4. sodium citrate

When cutting back on sodium, here are the key things to remember:

  • If a product says that it's sodium free or has no sodium, it contains less than 5 mg
  • If a product says it is very low sodium, it contains less than 35 mg
  • If a product says it is low sodium, it contains less than 140 mg
  • To keep your sodium intake low, look for foods for which one serving contributes less than 5% of your daily recommended sodium intake

Yours in health and happiness,


P.S. Please share this important health info. with your loved ones and don't forget to leave me a comment below!