Healthy Eating

Principles of Low Sodium/Salt Diet

What is sodium?

  • Sodium is an essential mineral of your body and is responsible for maintaining the normal operation of body functions.
  • Long term excessive sodium intake may result in high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases (including stroke, heart attack and CVD deaths) and osteoporosis. 
  • A low salt diet aims to restrict daily intake of sodium to reduce health risks. 

Dietary sources of sodium

  • Major dietary source: Salt, MSG, sauces, and salty seasonings.
  • Natural source: Majority of foods such as milk, cheese, fish, vegetables, and drinking water all contained small amount of sodium.
  • Hidden source: Commercially processed foods include breads and crackers, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, processed meats, preserved vegetables, and canned and frozen foods.  

Recommended sodium intake

  • Adults should limit their sodium intake to below 2,000 milligrams each day, which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt (5 grams of salt).
  • Adults with hypertension or prehypertension should limit their sodium intake to below 11,500 mg each day, which is equivalent to 2/3 teaspoon of salt.

How to cut back sodium in my diet?

  • Eat at home more frequently, and control salt and seasoning use as you cook.
  • Use less processed seasonings
    Try to use natural herbs and spices such as ginger, tangerine peel, star anise, vinegar, garlic, onion, and pepper to boost flavor, rather than soy sauce, salt or chicken powder.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
    For canned or frozen vegetables, look for no added salt or low sodium versions, or choose frozen varieties without sauce.
  • Check nutrition labels on packaged foods
    Learn to read the nutrition label and compare sodium content in different products. Select the foods with lower sodium content and stick to low-salt or no-salt alternatives.
  • Re-train your taste buds, appreciate the taste of natural ingredients by eating slowly and concentrating on chewing.
    Try not to add salt or soy sauce before tasting the first bite.