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The Facts on Sodium

Sodium Q & A

What is Sodium?
Sodium is a mineral that is essential for human health and critical for transmission of nerve impulses and the contraction of muscle fibers. Sodium works with potassium to maintain proper fluid balance in and around cells.

How much sodium do I need?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day for adults in good health, which is about the amount of sodium in a teaspoon of table salt.

How much sodium do most people consume?
According to the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day.


What are the top sources of sodium in the typical American diet?
Most of the sodium in the American diet comes from sodium chloride, more commonly referred to as “table salt.” Table salt is 40 percent sodium and 60 percent chloride. The top five food sources of sodium in the American diet are yeast breads, chicken and chicken mixed dishes, pizza, pasta and pasta dishes, and cold cuts.

What steps can I take to lower blood pressure?
Medical experts recommend reducing sodium intake and boosting potassium intake. Most of the sodium in the typical American diet (77%) comes from processed and restaurant foods. The most effective ways to reduce sodium intake is to choose more fresh foods and to read the Nutrition Facts panel and choose brands with the least sodium when buying processed foods.

Sources of Sodium

The Dangers of Sodium

Excessive sodium intake has been linked to serious health conditions including:

  • High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and accounts for two-thirds of all strokes and half of heart disease.
  • Cancer: The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund published a report in 2007 that concluded that sodium intake is directly correlated to risk of stomach cancer. Decreasing sodium intake decreases risk of stomach cancer.
  • Osteoporosis: Studies in older women have shown that reducing sodium intake can slow the loss of calcium from bone that occurs with aging.

Medical experts recommend reducing sodium intake and boosting potassium intake in order to promote optimum health. Using Sunkist lemons as a S’alternative is an easy and delicious way to do both.


Zero Sodium + Good Source of Potassium

Fruits and vegetables are generally always smart choices if you want foods that are low in sodium/sodium-free and good sources of potassium. Check out the sodium and potassium content of Sunkist Citrus.

Source: USDA


Tips to Reduce Sodium

Most of the sodium in the typical American diet (75%) comes from processed and restaurant foods. Here are a few tips to help you and your family reduce sodium by consuming more fresh foods like Sunkist® lemons and other fresh Sunkist citrus!

  • Plan meals carefully. If a high sodium food is selected, choose your other menu items from lower sodium groups.
  • Read labels of packaged or prepared food products for the sodium content. Look for items “without added salt.”
  • Skip the salt in all cooking and food preparation by serving extra Sunkist lemon wedges and herb mixtures for individual seasoning.
  • Check the sodium content of the drinking water in your area with your local Health Department. If you are on a lower sodium restricted diet, do not drink the water if it has been treated with a water-softening agent.
  • When eating away from home, order freshly cooked turkey or chicken versus pressed meat. Turkey rolls and other pre-cooked poultry meats contain a much higher sodium content than freshly cooked poultry.
  • As you reduce your sodium intake, your taste buds will adjust, allowing you to enjoy the true flavors of food that salt often masks.


Want to learn even more about Sunkist lemons?

Check out these videos on health tips, usage ideas, delicious recipes and more!



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