Answer: You’re right—salt is everywhere. Processed foods are the main culprit, but the increased reliance on fast foods and restaurant meals are problematic as well. To add to the confusion, people often have trouble differentiating between sodium and salt. Salt is actually 40% sodium, so when discussing recommendations, we need to be clear about what we’re talking about. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). On the other hand, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day (about 2/3teaspoon of salt), and they set the tolerable upper intake level at 2,300 milligrams. It’s clear that your intake should fall somewhere between these two ranges, or even less, but it’s actually quite difficult to keep your sodium level as low as 1500 milligrams per day. In fact, the IOM points out that 95% of American men and 75% of American women consume sodium in excess of the tolerable upper limit—not good news for those of us looking to avoid chronic disease as we get older. In order to keep your sodium intake in check, you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure you buy foods that are fresh and unprocessed. And don’t forget to avoid adding salt at the dinner table as well.