Condiments and sauces such as Worcestershire sauce horseradish ketchup and mustard

Figure 7-4 shows examples of foods that are high in sodium. Salt is also used in food preparation and at the table for seasoning.

In addition to the sodium in salt, sodium appears in monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking powder, and baking soda. Other possible sources of dietary sodium include the sodium in some local water systems. Unprocessed foods also contain natural sodium, but in small amounts (with the exception of milk and some milk products).

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005) recommend that you consume foods with less than 2300 milligrams sodium or about 1 teaspoon salt each day. The AI for sodium is 1500 mg per day for adults. This amount does not apply to highly active individuals, such as endurance athletes and certain workers (such as foundry workers) who lose large amounts of sweat on a daily basis and therefore need more sodium. All adults exceed the AI each day. About 95 percent of adult men and 75 percent of adult women exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 2300 mg of sodium per day. Figure 7-5 gives strategies for reducing sodium intake.

The most important health issue that is influenced by overconsumption of salt is high blood pressure, also called hypertension. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. In short, the higher your salt intake, the higher your blood pressure. Individuals with the greatest reductions in blood pressure in response to decreased salt intake are called "salt-sensitive." They include middle-aged and older persons, African-Americans, and individuals with hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. There is no benefit to consuming more than 1500 mg per day, especially for members of these groups.

When people sweat, sodium is lost as well as fluid. In most cases, these losses are made up by eating and drinking fluids.

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