What You Should Know
Too much salt in the diet increases the risk for High blood pressure, a condition that affects nearly 1 in 3 Americans and that is considered the leading cause of heart attack and stroke.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vast majority of US adults consume more than double the recommended maximum of salt.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the average person to limit salt intake to less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. However, African American, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, and people 51 or older should limit intake to 1,500 mg or less per day. 
What You Can Do to Limit Salt Intake
Most of the salt we consume comes from processed foods and foods prepared in restaurants; therefore, CDC recommends some measures  that can help lower the amount of salt intake:
- Choose to purchase healthy options and talk with your grocer or favorite restaurant about stocking lower salt food choices
- Read the Nutrition Facts label while shopping to find the lowest salt options of your favorite foods
- Eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and frozen fruits and vegetables without sauce
- Limit processed foods high in salt
- When eating out, request lower salt option
Sources of Salt in American Diet
Sources: Mattes, R. and D. Donnelly, Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1991. 10(4): p. 383-393.
The "Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension" , commonly called the DASH eating plan, is a nationally recognized diet plan that is LOW in salt, saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. It also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry and nuts.
Studies have shown that people who followed this plan had a substantial reduction in their blood pressure within two weeks of starting the plan.
1. CDC. Sodium Reduction: Time for Choice. Public Health Grand Rounds 2011 [cited 2011 April 25th]; Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/about/grand-rounds/archives/2011/April2011.htm.
2. USDA_USDHHS, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, December 2010, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
3. CDC. Where's the sodium? Vital Signs 2012; Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Sodium/index.html.