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5 Tips for Sticking to a Low-sodium Diet at Dinner

Most Americans consume more than twice the amount of salt they should. See more salt pictures.

In "Margaritaville," Jimmy Buffet sang about his lost shaker of salt, and health experts believe many people have a similar love affair with putting the white stuff on everything from cocktails to desserts. Since our bodies do need some sodium in order to function properly, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends about 1,500 milligrams (a little more than a half-teaspoon) a day. But most Americans consume more than double that amount through pre-packaged food, restaurant meals, and a dependency on the salt shaker. A low-sodium diet has many potential health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. But, if you're someone who's used to having that extra shake or two from the salt shaker, it could be tough to kick the habit -- especially at dinnertime. Here are five tips to make the process a little easier.