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Older Adult Health Facts

Sodium and Potassium

Nearly all Americans eat too much salt (sodium). Most of the salt comes from eating processed foods (75%), or adding salt to food while cooking and using the salt shaker at meals (5% to 10%). On average, the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her blood pressure. Eating less salt is an important way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which may in turn reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney damage. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, eat less processed food and use less salt while cooking and at the table.

Other lifestyle changes may prevent or delay getting high blood pressure and may help lower elevated blood pressure. These include eating more potassium-rich foods, losing excess weight, being more physically active, and eating a healthy diet. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Did you know that sodium and potassium both impact blood pressure? A diet rich in potassium helps to counterbalance some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Older adults should aim for no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.

This is about 3/4 teaspoon of salt. You should also try to get 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day.

Here are some tips for eating less salt and more potassium:

Ranges of sodium content for selected foods available in the retail market
Food Amount Range of Sodium Content (mg) % Daily Value (% DV)*for Sodium
Breads, all types 1 ounce 95 - 210 4% - 9%
Frozen pizza, plain cheese 4 ounces 450 - 1,200 19% - 50%
Frozen vegetables, all types 1/2 cup 2 - 160 0% - 7%
Salad dressing, regular fat, all types 2 Tablespoons 110 - 505 5% - 21%
Salsa 2 Tablespoons 150 - 240 6% - 10%
Soup (tomato), reconstituted 8 ounces 700 - 1,260 29% - 53%
Tomato juice 8 ounces (~1 cup) 340 - 1,040 14% - 43%
Potato chipsa 1 ounce (28.4 grams) 120 - 180 5% - 8%
Tortilla chipsa 1 ounce (28.4 gram) 105 - 160 4% - 7%
Pretzelsa 1 ounce (28.4 grams) 290 - 560 12% - 23%
* % Daily Values (DV) listed in this column are based on the food amounts listed in the table. The DV for sodium is 2,400 mg.
aAll snack foods are regular flavor, salted.
Source: Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17 and recent manufacturers' label data from retail market surveys. Serving sizes were standardized to be comparable among brands within a food. Pizza and bread slices vary in size and weight across brands.

Note: None of the examples provided were labeled low-sodium products.


Get enough potassium each day
Food, Amount Potassium (milligrams) % Daily Value* Calories
Sweet potato, baked, 1 potato (146 grams) 694 20% 131
Beet greens, cooked, 1/2 cup 655 19% 19
Potato, baked, flesh, 1 potato (156 grams) 610 17% 145
White beans, canned, 1/2 cup 595 17% 153
Yogurt, plain, non-fat, 8-ounce container 579 17% 127
Prune juice, 1/2 cup 530 15% 136
Tuna, yellowfin, cooked, 3 ounces 484 14% 118
Lima beans, cooked, 1/2 cup 484 14% 104
Winter squash, cooked, 1/2 cup 448 13% 40
Cod, Pacific, cooked, 3 ounces 439 13% 89
Banana, 1 medium 422 12% 105
Spinach, cooked, 1/2 cup 419 12% 21
Tomato juice, 3/4 cup 417 12% 31
Orange juice, canned, 3/4 cup 436 12% 105
* % Daily Values (DV) listed in this column are based on the food amounts listed in the table and FDA's Daily Value for potassium (3,500 mg).
Source: Nutrient values from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Foods are from ARS single nutrient reports, sorted in descending order by nutrient content in terms of common household measures. Food items and weights in the single nutrient reports are adapted from those in the 2002 revision of USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 72, Nutritive Value of Foods. Mixed dishes and multiple preparations of the same food item have been omitted from this table.

Sample Nutrition Facts Label Content Below

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size, 1 cup (228 grams)
Servings Per Container, 2
Amount Per Serving:
Calories, 250
Calories from Fat, 110
Total Fat, 12 grams (18% Daily Value*)
Saturated Fat, 3 grams(15% Daily Value)
Trans Fat, 3 grams
Cholesterol, 30 milligrams (10% Daily Value)
Sodium 470 milligrams (20% Daily Value)
Potassium 700 milligrams (20% Daily Value)
Total Carbohydrate, 31 grams (10% Daily Value)
Dietary Fiber, 0 grams (0% Daily Value)
Sugars, 5 grams
Protein, 5 grams
Vitamin A (4% Daily Value)
Vitamin C (2% Daily Value)
Calcium (20% Daily Value)
Iron (4% Daily Value)
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
 
Calories: 2,000
Total fat, Less than 65 grams
Saturated fat, Less than 20 grams
Cholesterol, Less than 300 milligrams
Sodium, Less than 2,400 milligrams
Total Carbohydrate, 300 grams
Dietary Fiber, 25 grams