How Much Sodium is in Our Foods?

Stephanie Weber

Sodium is a part of everyone’s diet. Sodium plays a part in maintaining the water balance in cells and in the function of nerve impulses and muscles. Sodium is a component of salt (40% sodium to 60% chloride). Ideally, the sodium intake of a person is between 1500 to 2300 milligrams (mg) per day. Too much sodium can lead to health issues including edema, water retention, osteoporosis, and hypertension. Sodium is found naturally in most foods. However, when foods are canned, processed, or commercially prepared, more sodium is added to preserve or flavor them.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is centered around food. Every year, families gather together to share an enormous feast which leaves us full of extra calories and sodium. In this project, we will research the sodium content of several popular Thanksgiving dishes. We will measure the sodium found in 1 ounce of food. This is typically much smaller than a serving size. We will use our data to create a box and whisker plot and a normal distribution curve (bell curve) using interactive web tools.

Process of Creating the Box & Whisker Plot and Normal Distribution Curve