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Ask Dr. Gourmet



How much salt does the body need? Can we get that from vegetables alone?

Do you recommend against adding table salt while cooking and before eating?

Can we get all the required sodium from the vegetables that we eat? I have heard that the amount of sodium the body needs/uses is around 300mg per day. Is that correct?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Salting food while cooking

I don't recommend using added salt at the table. I am a big fan of measuring salt carefully when cooking recipes.

Here's the minimum Recommended Daily Allowance of sodium for different age groups.

 
Age group
Minimum sodium
requirement (mg/day)
Infants
0-0.5 year
120 mg
 
0.5-1 year
200 mg
Children
1 year
225 mg
 
2-5 years
300 mg
 
6-9 years
400 mg
 
10-18 years
500 mg
Adults  
500 mg
Pregnant Women  
569 mg
Lactating Women  
635 mg

It would be very easy to get the minimum RDA for sodium from veggies alone. Eight ounces of raw broccoli has about 75 mg, for instance. Many foods contain a fair amount of sodium in their natural state. Examples include a cup of milk with 125 mg and 4 ounces of beef at about 70 mg.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet