Many people use salt to add flavor to their food. Salt has sodium in it. Sodium is a chemical that helps food last longer. It can slow down or stop the growth of germs in lunchmeats, salad dressings, and cheese products. Our bodies need sodium, but they need a lot less than we think. Most people use much more salt than they need each day.
Most foods, even fresh ones, have a little sodium in them. We get most of the sodium in our diets from salt added to processed foods. Some of the foods that contain the most sodium are tomato juice, soups, canned foods, and prepared mixes.
A little salt is good, but too much sodium can cause or add to health problems, like high blood pressure and diabetes. The American Heart Association says we should try to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.
How much salt is that? A four-ounce cheeseburger from a popular fast food store has almost 1,400 milligrams of sodium in it. That is more than 1/4 teaspoon of salt. It does not sound like much, but it is. It is almost all the salt we should have in one day!