Hold onto your saltshakers: How to cut back on sodium

Sodium: It’s a necessary nutrient to maintain a healthy body, but excessive amounts can do some serious harm. According to the American Heart Association, a high-sodium diet increases blood pressure and your risk of heart attacks. Experts recommend limiting your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day – which is easier said than done.

Many processed foods are packed with the stuff, but there are other culprits you need to watch out for:

  1. Table salt is 40 percent sodium and typically the number one source for almost everyone. Adding 1 teaspoon of salt to your meal exceeds the recommended daily value by 300mg (2,325mg of sodium).
  2. Cottage cheese may be an excellent source of calcium, but enjoying half a cup costs you about 450mg of sodium, almost 25 percent of your daily allowance.
  3. Cereal is often thought of as a sweet rather than salty, but just one cup of Raisin Bran has 300mg of sodium.
  4. Deli meats rely on salt as a preservative, so adding one slice of salami to your sandwich means adding roughly 226mg of sodium.
  5. Soy sauce, which is commonly added to Asian cooking and take-out, can contain 335mg of sodium for one teaspoon.
  6. Parmesan, cheddar and Swiss cheese have some of the highest amounts of sodium for cheese. Five one-inch cubes account for 71 percent, 66 percent and 65 percent of your recommended daily amount, respectively.
  7. Pretzels, along with most processed snack foods, have high sodium content. For example, a handful of these on-the-go snacks (about 15 medium pretzels) add up to more than 1715mg of sodium, or 71 percent of your daily recommended amount.
  8. Bread racks in about 100mg of sodium per slice, but specialty rolls, bagels and even muffins can have as much as 400mg of sodium per serving.

 

Photo credit: Shawn Econo

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  1. Wish we could get food manufacturing cos to make things without salt. Canned foods, soup, vegetables, even skim milk has a lot of sodium. Why not let people add their own salt if they feel they have to have it. At least then all those who have heart problems and have to monitor their sodium intake, would have more choices when they shop for groceries. How about one isle devoted to no, or very low sodium foods?

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