Easy ways to reduce sodium, improve cardiovascular health

As American Heart Month 2014 draws to a close, we’d like to share some tips from Quality Insights of Pennsylvania (the Pennsylvania Quality Improvement Organization) on reducing sodium to improve cardiovascular health.

We all know that reducing sodium is an evidence-based strategy to reduce risk and improve management for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (current Federal policy), the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day and should reduce their daily intake to 2,300 mg or 1,500 mg depending on age and other individual characteristics.

Click here for 10 Tips to Cut Salt and Sodium, a 2-page education sheet. Post it on bulletin board for staff awareness, or use it as patient handout. Here are some additional tips for using it with patients:

  • 10 Tips to Cut SodiumSelect 1-2 tips each visit
  • Teach-back: Ask patient to tell you some foods they could add or remove from their diet based upon the tip(s)
  • Share with caregivers
  • Engage patient or caregiver by pulling few items from cupboard and looking a sodium content
  • Ask patient to write out a grocery list with better choices including more fruits and vegetables
  • Challenge patient to try one new seasoning  instead of salt

What other advice do you give your patients who need to reduce sodium? Please comment below.


World Salt Awareness Week 2014 is March 10-16. Visit the World Action on Salt & Health (WASH) website for more info and promotional resources.


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