6 High-Sodium Foods You Should Avoid

6 High-Sodium Foods You Should Avoid

Americans love table salt, and they eat too much of it. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends keeping daily intake of sodium to under 2,300 milligrams (mg), most American adults exceed this figure. In fact, it’s estimated that people eat an average of 3,000 to 3,500 mg of sodium per day. All of that excess sodium increases your blood volume and with it, your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. 

Sodium is a necessary electrolyte that the body needs for many bodily functions. For example, the body requires sodium to maintain fluid balance, transmit nerve impulses, and to maintain muscle movement. If you are worried about high blood pressure, especially if it runs in your family, you should aim to limit your sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Cutting back to 1,000 mg per day could improve your blood pressure even more. 

While most people are mindful to steer clear of certain salty foods, they may not be aware of sneaky sodium bombs. French fries and movie theater popcorn are common high-sodium foods, but you need to be on the lookout for less obvious sodium sources. From canned veggies to bread and tortillas, beware of the following salty foods. 

Vegetable Juice

In theory, vegetable juice should be healthy, but it is a sneaky source of salt. Always read your labels! Sodium content is always listed per serving size, and a low-sodium serving should be 140 mg or less, according to the National Academy of Sciences. A can of tomato juice can contain more than 900 mg of sodium per an 11.5-ounce serving. If you want to enjoy healthy vegetable juice, make your own with a juicer or strain a blended vegetable mixture through a mesh sieve. 

Pasta Sauce

Pasta is an easy dinner choice because it doesn’t require a lot of time or effort, especially if you use jarred sauce. If you want to be more mindful of your sodium intake, you may want to rethink how you prepare your dish. On average, one cup of spaghetti sauce has nearly 1,000 mg of sodium. If you enjoy meat sauce, then you have to factor in additional sodium from the sausage or meatballs. Alternatively, make your own sauce by using ripe plum tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh basil. You can also toss your noodles with fresh vegetables and olive oil for a healthier, sauce-free pasta dish. 

Breakfast Cereal

A large percentage of the sodium that most Americans consume comes from cereals and other processed foods. One cup of cornflakes, for example, contains almost 270 mg of sodium, which can add up quickly if you don’t measure portion sizes. When you get into sugary cereals, you enter a world of food dyes, artificial flavors, and added sugars, all of which sabotage your health. Pre-made pancake mixes can also be secret sources of sodium, exhibiting over 450 mg of sodium per serving. 

Deli Meats

Sliced deli meats, hot dogs, bacon, and even turkey bacon are packed with sodium. One hot dog, for example, can contain as much as 700 mg of sodium. Two slices of regular deli ham can have close to 250 mg of sodium. People often consume more than one serving of these types of food, which only increases sodium intake. If you want to enjoy animal protein, opt for grass-fed/grass-finished beef or wild caught fish. Always check nutrition labels on meats because you never know if they are “plumped” with sodium to help them retain moisture. 

Canned Soups And Vegetables

Anything in a can typically contains sodium, especially canned vegetables and soups. That’s why you always have to check the nutrition labels and choose low-sodium products or “no salt added” products. A 10.5-ounce can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup contains 2,225 mg of sodium, which nearly accounts for the recommended daily allowance. Canned beans or vegetables can contain nearly four servings of about 400 mg of sodium or more. To reduce your sodium intake, opt for fresh vegetables instead of canned varieties. If you want soup, use low-sodium stocks with fresh vegetables!

Bread And Tortillas

A six-inch flour tortilla can contain more than 400 mg of sodium, but this depends on the brand and ingredients. That number only increases as the tortillas get bigger. If you want to eat tortillas, opt for plain corn tortillas, which may only contain 15 mg of sodium per tortilla. Another sneaky source of sodium is bread, with an average slice containing 100-200 mg of sodium. This, of course, depends on the type of bread and the brand. If you want to watch your sodium and carb intake, opt for a lettuce wrap or portobello mushroom bun for more nutrients and extra flavor.

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