A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation showed that almost 71% of our sodium intake comes from food outside the home.

Sodium is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. The sodium intake recommendation for most U.S. adults is 1,500 mg per day, yet the average American adult consumes over 3,400 mg per day—that’s over double the recommended amount.

The study, which looked at 450 Americans over a one year period, found that salt added to food cooked at home accounted for 6% of our diet and 5% of salt is added at the table. About 15% of sodium is naturally derived from foods.

The study suggests that the easiest way to cut down on your sodium isn’t to just lay off the salt shakers; it’s to prepare more meals at home. Lead researcher Lisa J. Harnack also suggests checking the nutritional facts panel when purchasing packaged foods to identify lower sodium products.

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