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What You Can Do

A healthy salad.

To reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke—

Icon: Everyone can

Everyone can:

  • Know your recommended limits for daily sodium intake.
  • Choose to purchase healthy options and talk with your grocer or favorite restaurant about stocking lower sodium food choices.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods.
  • Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce.
  • Limit processed foods high in sodium.
  • When eating out, request lower sodium options.
  • Support initiatives that reduce sodium in foods in cafeterias and vending machines.

Icon: Building

Places that produce, sell, or serve food can:

  • Consider joining voluntary initiatives to reduce sodium such as the National Salt Reduction Initiative
  • Give choices to consumers to help them reduce sodium in their diet by:
    • Stocking lower sodium foods.
    • Asking food manufacturers to provide lower sodium foods.
  • Make phased reductions in the amount of sodium they add to foods they sell or serve.
  • Limit the amount of sodium in food products.
  • Provide information about sodium in foods.

State and local health departments

State and local health departments can:

  • Develop and implement efforts that:
    • Increase public awareness about the amount of sodium added to processed and packaged foods.
    • Increase public awareness of the health outcomes of a high-sodium diet.
    • Help reduce sodium in people's diets.
  • Encourage reductions in the amount of sodium [PDF-652K] in foods purchased in cafeterias and vending machines.

Icon: Federal government

Federal government is:

  • Using the national "Million Hearts®" initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Reducing sodium in the population is a major part of this initiative.
  • Encouraging its agencies and departments to adopt the HHS/GSA or similar procurement guidelines that define how much sodium there can be in products that are sold or served in their facilities.
  • Improving data collection on sodium, including the amount of sodium people consume, and their knowledge, behaviors and health outcomes.

Salt levels can vary in common food items: Soup: 700-1,260 mg; Frozen Pizza: 450-1,200 mg; Salad Dressing: 110-505 mg; Frozen Vegetables: 2-160 mg; Bread: 95-210 mg.
Current guidelines for sodium intake for adults are less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day at most and 1,500 mg for adults at high risk.

Please visit our Salt home page for more information on salt, and sodium and food. And for more details on what communities can do, visit our Sodium Reduction in Communities Program Web page.