How to Calculate Sodium in Food

(By Aureau Walding, Livestrong) Dietary intake of sodium is essential to life because it helps your body maintain normal biochemical functions like fluid balance, transmission of nerve impulses, and regulating muscular contractions. But too much sodium in your diet increases the risk of cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Healthy adults should limit daily sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day. If you have health problems do not exceed 1,500 mg per day unless otherwise advised by your physician. Maintain healthy daily intake by tracking consumption and making the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes if you eat too much sodium.

Step 1

Divide one serving of a salt-containing food item by 2.5 to estimate the amount of sodium because sodium composes 40 percent of table salt. If you know the amount of salt in a food product then you can calculate the sodium. For instance, one 3 oz. serving of ham contains 2,500 mg of salt. Divide 2,500 by 2.5 to find that the ham has 1,000 mg of sodium in that serving.

Step 2

Measure your table salt before adding it to foods. One teaspoon of salt equates to 2,000 mg of sodium, 3/4 tsp. of salt has 1,500 mg of sodium, 1/2 tsp. of salt has 1,000 mg of sodium and 1/4 tsp. of salt yields 500 mg of sodium.

Step 3

Read food nutrition labels for sodium content per serving. Packaged foods contain a nutrition facts label that lists the sodium per serving in your food item. Keep in mind that a serving is different than a portion size and to accurately calculate your sodium from the food item you must follow the labeling serving size.

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