6 High-Sodium Foods You Shouldn’t Eat
“Check all those can labels and choose products with less sodium per serving,” warns Brennan. Some canned soups may contain up to 1,300 mg of sodium. On the other hand, you can make your own soup using low-sodium broth and fresh ingredients. To lower sodium intake, buy your vegetables fresh instead of from a can, and be sure to rinse all canned veggies to remove excess sodium before eating. A half-cup of freshly cooked carrots has only 45 mg of sodium and a cup of green beans has just 1 mg.
The frozen foods section of your grocery store can be another hiding place for salt. Frozen meals like pizza or meatloaf dinners might contain up to 1,800 mg of sodium — enough to put you over the AHA’s daily limit in just one meal. Excess salt causes your body to retain fluid, which will not only leaving you feeling bloated, but can also lead to high blood pressure. Look for low-sodium options or, better yet, cook your own meals from scratch.
Spaghetti may make a frequent appearance in your dinner rotation, but you might want to rethink how you prepare the dish if you are worried about your sodium intake. One cup of spaghetti sauce can have a sodium content of 1,000 mg. If you’re a fan of meat sauce you then have to factor in additional sodium for sausage or meatballs. As an alternative, a low-sodium pasta sauce with no salt added can be as low as 100 mg of sodium per cup, or make your own spaghetti sauce from ripe plum tomatoes and fresh basil and garlic. You can also toss spaghetti with fresh veggies and olive oil for a healthy, no-sauce dish.
Even a healthy-sounding option like vegetable juice can be high in salt. That’s why it is important to read labels closely. Sodium content is listed per serving size; to be considered a low-sodium serving, it should read 140 mg or less. Even a can of tomato juice can be a mini-sodium bomb at up to 700 mg per 8-ounce serving. Your best bet is to squeeze your own fresh vegetable juice — a small tomato has only 11 mg of sodium.
The average American consumes more than 3,000 mg of sodium per day, but your body only needs about 500 mg, or less than one-quarter teaspoon. Cereals and other processed foods account for a large majorityof our sodium intake. One cup of cornflakes can have more than 200 mg of sodium per serving, which can add up quickly if you aren’t measuring portion sizes. And other processed breakfast foods are even worse: “Biscuit and pancake mixes can have up to 800 mg of sodium per serving,” says Brennan. “Instead, try making your own mixes from scratch using low-sodium baking powder and baking soda.”
“Most people know better than to shake table salt all over their food, but there are plenty of hidden sources of sodium in our diets,” says Lanah J. Brennan, RD. “Sliced deli meats and hot dogs are packed with sodium.” One hot dog can contain up to 700 mg of sodium, while just one slice of regular deli ham can have over 300 mg. “Choose fresh meats or fish instead, and try making an extra serving at dinner and using the rest to make your lunch the next day,” she advises.