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Protect Your Heart: Understanding the Dangers of Excessive Sodium Intake

Your body needs sodium to function! Sodium is regulated by your kidneys and helps control your body’s fluid balance. It also affects nerve impulses and muscle function. 2

Although sodium is needed for the body, too much sodium can raise blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and the number 1 killer worldwide. It is known as the “silent killer” because the symptoms are not always obvious. So, what does it look like to protect your heart when it comes to sodium intake?

Hold the Salt

The recommended daily amount of sodium is no more than 2.4 grams (2400 mg). That’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. This teaspoon includes all the salt and sodium for the day, including what you use in cooking, what’s already in food, and what you use at the table. 3

Before you are quick to grab the table salt at the table, consider how much salt is already included in your meal. Some common food sources of sodium include breads/rolls, pizza, cheese, and burritos/tacos. Find the top ten list here.

Next time you go out to eat, look for items that are lower in sodium or hold off on adding extra salt. This is an extra step of protection for your heart!

Tips For Reducing Salt and Sodium

  1. Rinse canned foods (e.g., tuna) to remove some of the sodium.

  2. Buy fresh, plain frozen, or “no salt added” vegetables.

  3. Use fresh poultry, fish, and lean meat instead of canned processed, or pre-prepared kinds.

  4. Limit how many convenience foods you eat. When you do choose to eat them, find ones that are low in sodium. Frozen pizza, microwave dinners, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings usually have a lot of sodium. Read the labels carefully.

  5. Buy low- or reduced-sodium versions of foods. Items labeled “low sodium” must contain no more than 140 mg per serving, and “sodium free” or “salt free” foods must have only 5 mg per serving or less.

Low Salt Doesn’t Mean Low Flavor

Salt is a great way to add flavor to a meal! However, it’s not the ONLY way to spice up your meal. Try these spices as an alternative to salt:

Herbs and Spices

Use in


Soups, salads, vegetables, sauces, fish, meats


Salads, vegetables, breads, snacks

Chili Powder

Soups, salads, vegetables, sauces, fish


​Soups, salads, vegetables, sauces

Dill Weed & Dill Seed

​Fish, soups, salads, vegetables


​Vegetables, meats, snacks


Soups, salads, vegetables, meats, sauces, snacks


Salads, vegetables, fish, poultry

Tria Health is Here for You!

Tria Health is a free and confidential benefit available through your health plan. If you have a chronic condition or take multiple medications, Tria Health’s pharmacists are ready to support you in managing your health.

Pharmacists at Tria Health ensure that your medications work as intended and that you are on the right medications. They can also support you by creating a care plan specific to your needs and contacting your physician. Talk to a Tria pharmacist over the phone and receive the personalized care you deserve.



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