Sodium is a mineral found in table salt and in many packaged foods. Many foods high in sodium don’t taste salty. Most people eat about twice as much salt as they need. Your body only needs less than 1 teaspoon of salt, which is between 1,500 and 2,300 mg of sodium, per day. If you have high blood pressure, you should have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. (Check with your doctor to determine your own recommended maximum sodium intake per day.)

A diet high in sodium can raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause heart attack and stroke. Everyone can benefit from eating less sodium. Try to reduce your consumption of these foods:

■ Smoked, cured, salted or canned meat such as bacon, cold cuts and ham
■ Frozen breaded meats and dinners
■ Canned dinners such as ravioli, spam® and chili
■ Regular and processed cheese, cottage cheese, cheese spreads and sauces
■ Biscuit, pancake and waffle mixes
■ Pizza
■ Salted crackers
■ Prepackaged mixes for potatoes, rice, pasta and stuffing
■ Regular canned and dehydrated soup, broth and bouillon
■ Premade pasta and tomato sauces
■ Salted butter or margarine

— Source: Tulane University Prevention Research Center

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