The Food and Drug Administration released a recommendation on Wednesday asking food manufacturers and commercial food producers to minimize sodium levels by 12% within a two-and-a-half-year, short-term goal.

“This guidance is intended to provide measurable voluntary short-term (2.5-year) goals for sodium content in commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods to reduce excess population sodium intake, while recognizing and supporting the important roles sodium plays in food technology and food safety,” the FDA said in a guidance document.

The FDA found that sodium is pre-added to the majority of food Americans eat and makes up 70% of their total intake, which creates complications for people to reduce their intake on their own. As a result, the goal is for food manufacturers and producers to make the reduction on their own.

“We recognize that cutting down on sodium in your diet is hard to do on your own because about 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, packaged and prepared foods,” Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said on a media call Wednesday.

By pressuring companies, the FDA hopes to push manufacturers in the right direction.

The main goal of the new recommendation is to reduce heart disease rates.

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States," according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA does understand that sodium reduction will have to be gradual across the entire food supply, in order to keep people from wanting to choose a higher sodium option.

The National Restaurant Association said in a statement that it plans to work with the FDA on reducing sodium intake and "continues to provide options to address customers' desires and health needs."

A 12% reduction in Americans' sodium intake would go from about 3,400 to 3,000 milligrams a day, although the recommended amount of daily sodium intake is 2,300 mg.

The FDA does plan to monitor progress, but the new guidance is nonbinding.