Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy: Why Lowering Your Sodium Intake Matters

Lemons, ginger slices, garlic and oil surrounding spoons with spices and bottles of oil

Submitted by Dani Renouf, RD, MSc, CDE 

Making sound food choices helps prevent and manage health conditions. Reducing your salt intake is one way to keep blood pressure under control and ensure the protection and long-term functioning of the kidneys and circulatory system. However, many Canadians (i.e., adults and children) are unaware they are consuming more sodium that the recommended 2,300 mg per day. It is therefore important to regulate sodium intake not just on an individual level, but on a national level as well. 

Health Canada recently published a white paper outlining its goals to further reduce the sodium content in processed foods by 2025 through continued engagement with industry. This means that stricter targets will subsequently be imposed on the weighted average sale of commercial or processed foods. The weighted average sale refers to the specific amount (mg) of sodium per 100 g of a product in each food category, multiplied by the number of products (kg) sold in a category over one year period (e.g. crackers, specific bread products, baked goods etc.). A product that exceeds a target would be classified as not meeting the goal set forth by Health Canada. 

As consumers and stewards of our personal health, we should be mindful of salt-reduction strategies on a daily basis. Below are some tips to lower your sodium intake: 

  1. Read labels for serving sizes and percentage of sodium. Look for less than 15% per serving or less than 600 mg per meal. 
  1. Get into the habit of cooking more often so you can prepare meals using unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients. This is the best way to reduce your dietary salt intake. You can filter the recipes in the Kidney Community Cookbook by Diet Type to find low sodium recipes.
  1. Experiment with salt-free seasonings, herbs and spices, and fresh ingredients like ginger and lemon. Try different types of oils and vinegars to add flavour to your food without salt, to also introduce a variety of cultural flavours and aromas to your daily meals. Try some of these spice blend recipes in the Kidney Community Cookbook

For more information on Health Canada’s Strategy, visit: