For people with or at risk of high blood pressure, salty foods are they enemy. In fact, high-salt foods are typically the reason for developing high blood pressure. An unfortunate reality is that Americans love salt, with over 40% of the sodium they consume coming from numerous sources. Salt bombs are not merely processed foods; rather, there are other surprising foods that drastically increase your sodium intake.
Sodium is an essential electrolyte that the body needs to function correctly. It helps to maintain fluid balance, move muscles, and transmit nerve impulses. How do you distinguish the line between the right amount of sodium and too much, though? According to the latest Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dietary guidelines, American adults should keep sodium intake under 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. For reference, that is just about one teaspoon of salt. Limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day may benefit you even more, especially if your goal is to reduce blood pressure.
Most people have a general idea of what high-salt foods to stay away from. Fast food, movie-theater popcorn, and canned soups have tons of sodium, but there are other salt bombs you may not be aware of.
It may seem like a healthy beverage option, but bottled or canned vegetable juice can be incredibly high in salt. It’s a trap! One thing to note is that the sodium content on the nutrition label pertains to serving size. That means that if you buy a big bottle with multiple servings, you consume the amount of sodium for the amount of servings you drink. A can of tomato juice, for example, can have 900 mg of sodium in a 11.5-ounce serving. Make your own vegetable juice and the sodium content will reduce dramatically.
People love bread. When it arrives at the table before the meal, people gobble it up like crazy. Packaged loaves of bread that you buy in the store can have a sneaky amount of sodium. Again, it comes down to carefully reading the labels. All grains are not created equal. One hamburger bun, for example, may contain 200 mg of sodium, and a regular slice of bread can contain 150 mg of sodium. It’s better to cook up whole grains like farro, wild rice, steel cut oats, or buckwheat to reduce your salt intake.
Cold cuts, cured meats, canned meats, and other meats from the deli counter can pack a salty punch. A two-ounce serving of cold cut meat or salami can contain between 500-1020 mg of sodium, which is 33-68% of the recommended daily intake. Additionally, most deli meats contain phosphate salts and other preservatives that manufactures include during processing. That packaged ham you put on your sandwich averages 1,100 mg of sodium per three-ounce serving.
Sauces And Condiments
Canned sauces and condiments are one thing: convenient. Every person may not want to take the time to make sauces, dressings, marinades, and more from scratch. Unfortunately, there’s a salty price to pay for using these store bought items. One tablespoon of teriyaki sauce averages 690 mg of sodium, while the same amount of barbecue sauce has about 175 mg of sodium. The same tablespoon of ketchup may contain 150 mg of sodium and the average soy sauce packet can contain 1,000 mg of sodium. Jarred pasta sauce or curry sauce also packs an insane amount of sodium. For example, one cup of spaghetti sauce can have 1,000 mg of sodium. You can easily make your own sauce from ripe plum tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and onions!
Take into account that the average American consumes between 3,000-3,400 mg of sodium per day. Now, factor in the sneaky breakfast sodium bomb that is cereal. Cornflakes contains nearly 200 mg of sodium per serving, which adds up quickly if you just dump cereal into a bowl and dig in with a spoon. Some cereals have as much as 300 mg of sodium per serving, which can add up quickly, since most people exceed the serving size.