The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium (salt) a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. Eating too many salty foods can create all sorts of health problems, including high blood pressure.
The following six foods are the main sources of sodium in your diet:
- Bread and rolls. One piece of bread can have as much as 230 milligrams of sodium. That’s 15 percent of your recommended daily allowance. Although each serving may not sound like much, it can quickly add up throughout the day, toast at breakfast, a sandwich at lunch and a roll at dinner. Check the labels to find lower-sodium varieties.
- Cold cuts and cured meats. Deli or pre-packaged turkey can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams of sodium. Salt is also added to most cooked meats to prevent spoiling. Look for lower-sodium varieties.
- Pizza. One slice with several toppings can contain more than 50 percent of your recommended daily allowance of sodium. Limit the amount of pizza you eat.
- Poultry. The common belief is that chicken is not bad for you. However, sodium levels found in poultry are always different, depending on how it is prepared. For example, 3 ounces of frozen and breaded chicken nuggets can have up to 600 milligrams of sodium. Stay with grilled, lean or skinless chicken. Check labels to be sure you are selecting lower sodium versions.
- Soup. This cold-weather favorite can contain a day’s worth of sodium in a single bowl. One cup of canned tomato soup can have up to 1,260 milligrams of sodium. Look for lower sodium options that taste just as great.
- Sandwiches. Bread and cured meats are already high in salt. Add salty condiments such as ketchup and mustard and you can have more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium in a single sandwich. Try half a sandwich with a side salad instead.