It’s hard to keep up, isn’t it. One day we’re told we can safely enjoy 2,300 mg of sodium in our daily diets. Unless, of course, we have certain risk factors (such as being 51 or older, or black, or having high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease), in which case we should limit our sodium intake to 1,500 mg daily. Then, scratch that, says another group (one you may have heard of, the American Heart Association). We all, health-nuts included, should limit sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg daily. Match these head-spinning guidelines with reality, as in what most of us really eat day-to-day and enters a serious disconnect.
Some 90 percent Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet, according to a recent CDC report. As you know, excessive sodium leads to heart disease and stroke. What makes it so tough to reduce dietary sodium? For starters, you can’t remove the white stuff from processed foods. Plus, who knows how much salt the restaurant dishes we order contain. About 65 percent of dietary sodium is from store-bought foods, found the report, with 25 percent from restaurant foods.
Here, CDC-reported highest-sodium foods:
1. Breads and rolls
2. Cold cuts and cured meats (such as deli or packaged ham or turkey breast luncheon meat)
4. Poultry (fresh and processed; much of raw chicken, or pork, has been injected with a sodium solution, according to CDC)
5. Soups (find our low-sodium, still-delicious soup picks here)
7. Cheese (including cottage cheese)
8. Pasta Dishes (spaghetti sauce can be not only sodium-loaded but also sugar-heavy)
9. Meat Dishes
10. Snacks (chips, pretzels)
According to the report, 40 percent of sodium comes from these types of foods. But we don’t have to play powerless against Big Salt. Avoid getting duped by seeking low-sodium products, scanning nutritional labels to ensure marketing claims are legit. Look at the amount of sodium per serving, as well as (don’t forget), the total number of servings per package. Remember, you’ve got just 1,500 mg to spread throughout the entire day, and foods containing 300 mg or more of sodium per serving are considered high-sodium. With each decision, quickly run the math to stay on the health-track.
Holy Salt! Surprising Sodium Amounts:
1 slice of bread = 80 to 230 mg
4-ounce slice of restaurant plain cheese pizza, regular crust = 510 to 760 mg
3-ounce turkey breast, deli or packaged luncheon meat = 450 to 1,050 mg
For more tips on avoiding salt traps while shopping at the food store, check out this nifty video from Johns Hopkins Medicine video we scouted.
Which of these foods could You realistically nix?