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Sodium plays a major role in our heart health, and most sodium in our bodies comes from the foods we eat. The CDC recommends the following guidelines for sodium intake:

* Healthy adults should get less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.

* Those with high blood pressure, African Americans, and middle-aged and older adults should get no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

Limiting sodium in your diet will require you to read food labels, as some high-sodium foods will surprise you. In fact, about 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods, not the salt shaker. Here are some easy ways you can reduce the sodium in your diet:


* Eat fewer processed foods. Salt is a preservative, so foods that sit on shelves for long periods need to be preserved, and the answer is usually salt. Eliminate these foods and you can reduce your sodium intake. Replace ready-made dishes with simpler foods you make at home – and that way you know the ingredients.


* Read labels. Three of the highest sodium offenders are bread, cheese and soda. Read the labels and you may be surprised to learn that a single 12-ounce can of soda contains about 50 mg of sodium and just one slice of bread can be as high as 180 mg.


* Eat out less. Most restaurant food packs a salt punch. Try to get the nutrition info before you order and make the best choice you can. By cooking meals at home you can control the level of salt in your foods.


* Rinse canned foods. By running canned veggies and beans under water, you can cut out about 40 percent of the sodium. An even better idea — pick non-salted versions.


* Buy full-fat varieties. We’re all for cutting fat. The challenge is that when manufacturers remove flavorful fat from products, they usually compensate with a lot of salt. If you’re trying to curb salt, select small amounts of full-fat foods. But be sure to watch your portion control.

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