Too Much Sodium Doubles Risk for Heart Failure

How much salt or sodium do you consume in a day?

If you don't know, you're not alone. But the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. And if you already have risk factors for heart disease, your daily sodium intake should be closer to 1,500 mg per day.

So how much are you consuming? If you want to know, track everything you eat for about a week. Read food labels or use a tool like to keep track of sodium levels. If your diet looks anything like the typical American diet, you're probably consuming an estimated 3,400 mg of sodium per day or more.

And that's a problem. In a recent study by the European Society of Cardiology, researchers tracked 4,000 people for about 12 years. They found that people who consumed the most sodium, more than 13,700 mg per day, were twice as likely to develop heart failure as people who consumed less sodium.

"High salt...intake is one of the major causes of high blood pressure and an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease...and stroke," says Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare researcher Pekka Jousilahti.

How can you cut back on sodium? One of the easiest ways to limit sodium in your diet is to eat more whole, unprocessed foods. You can start by skipping the drive-thru, and things like processed meats and meals, or at least limit the number of times you eat this way.

Fortunately, there are still lots of ways to enjoy delicious and healthy foods without overloading on sodium. It's why we created a collection of Low-Sodium meals for breakfast lunch and dinner. Every meal is made from fresh ingredients and contains just 500 to 700 mg of sodium. Check out the menu and enjoy.