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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Eat Healthy > Sodium > How You Can Eat Less Sodium

How You Can Eat Less Sodium

Take action to prevent or manage high blood pressure.

  • Eat more fresh, whole foods.
  • Limit foods with hidden sodium.
  • Read the nutrition facts table.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Exercise.

Lower the amount of sodium you eat to prevent or manage high blood pressure.

How Can I Eat Less Sodium?

Eat more fresh, whole foods

Include foods that are naturally low in sodium, for example:

  • fruit (fresh or frozen)
  • vegetables (fresh or frozen)
  • whole grains (such as oats, barley, rice, and quinoa)
  • legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans)
    • look for low sodium or no salt added canned beans
  • fish, poultry and lean meats (fresh or frozen)
  • unsalted nuts and seeds

Limit foods with hidden sodium

A 'hidden' source of sodium means you cannot see the sodium.

Restaurant meals, fast foods and prepared foods from the counter at grocery stores are examples of hidden sources of sodium. This is because you do not know how much salt is in the food. Sodium is often added to these types of food.

Most of the sodium that people eat comes from the salt added to processed, prepared foods and meals prepared at restaurants. Fresh, whole foods that you prepare at home are naturally low in sodium.

  • Choose to eat fresh, whole foods at home more often to eat less sodium.
  • Eat less processed, prepared, and packaged foods, such as frozen dinners, canned soups, instant side dishes, sauces and pickles. A lot of sodium was added to these foods.
  • If the food comes in a package, you can read the nutrition facts table to know how much sodium is in the food. Find out more about reading food labels »

Read the nutrition facts table

  • Think about the serving size and how much you will eat.
  • Choose products with less than 200 mg of sodium per serving or 5% or less daily value of sodium (% DV).

Learn more about reading a nutrition facts table »

What Else Can I Do to Lower My Blood Pressure?

Drink less alcohol

Too much alcohol at one time can increase your blood pressure. The amount of alcohol you can drink without raising your blood pressure differs for men and women.

  • Men: limit alcohol to 2 drinks each day at most
  • Women: limit alcohol to 1 drink each day at most

If you are going to include alcohol, it is best to have it with a meal to prevent low blood sugar.

Exercise

Exercise and be active daily to help manage your blood pressure and blood sugar.

Last Reviewed: 10/16/2016