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New Sodium Targets

On October 17, Hypertension Canada, the nation’s experts on blood pressure, raised the recommendations for sodium intake from 1500 milligram per day to no more than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day.

The slightly higher level of sodium intake still shows a significant reduction in blood pressure based on references from the World Health Organization (WHO).  Although the new limit is 500 mg or ¼ teaspoon higher than the previous recommendations, the reality is that reducing sodium in the diet is still of great importance. Most Canadians far exceed even the new recommendations and consume on average 3,400 mg sodium each day. The bottom line is that by raising the sodium limit to 2,000 mg, most Canadians will need to cut their average sodium intake by about a third instead of by more than half.

Another key recommendation from the Hypertension Canada Task Force is to eat a healthy diet, including high-fibre foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. By doing so, your sodium intake will naturally decline. “You don’t have to worry about the numbers… your sodium intake will naturally be around 2000 milligrams,” says Task Force co-chairman Dr. Raj Padwal.

As dietitians, we also recommend looking at the Nutrition Facts Table to check the sodium content of foods. The % Daily Value (% DV) on the label tells you if there is a little sodium (5% DV or less) or a lot (15 % DV or more) in the foods you’re choosing.

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