If you want to cut down on your salt intake, it’s not enough to avoid potato chips and forego a sprinkle of salt on your lunch. Many everyday food products contain added salt. Most Americans eat too much salt, and it’s often by eating foods they assume are healthy.
A joint report by the AHA (American Heart Association) and the ASA (American Stroke Association) showed high levels of salt in common foods such as bread, cold meats, pizza, and chicken. The AHA’s recommended healthy limit for salt is 1,500 milligrams per day. According to the study, most Americans consume at least twice that amount. The shocking news is over 75% of that salt comes from “healthy” processed foods and eating out.
Most of the salt in your diet may come not from what you add to your food, but what’s already in it. Overeating salt can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. It’s also known to contribute to weight gain and puffy “bags” under the eyes.
Added salt is found in these foods
The study highlighted six common foods, often thought to be healthy, which contain too much salt. You should avoid these foods if you want to get the salt in your diet down to safe levels. These are the culprits to look out for:
A slice of bread can contain up to 230 milligrams of salt that’s not so much. But over the course of a day, it all adds up. It doesn’t matter if it’s white, whole wheat, or whole grain, if you get it from the store it’s loaded with added salt.
Cold meats from your local delicatessen and pre-packaged poultry slices from the supermarket alike may contain over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. It’s added to improve flavor and as a preservative. So, a few slices of deli ham on what might look like a healthy lunch while still putting you over the recommended daily sodium intake.
A slice of the nation’s favorite has about 760 milligrams of sodium. Just two slices take you to your maximum recommended limit. You can do the math to figure out how much salt you consume when you eat a whole pizza to yourself.
Raw chicken or turkey portions have salt solution pumped in before packing to keep them looking plump and fresh. Frozen nuggets, wings, and chicken fingers can have up to 600 milligrams of added salt in a 3-ounce serving. Two helpings and a sprinkle of salt can skyrocket your sodium levels.
The preferred meal of many dieters and people feeling unwell, soup is one of the worst offenders in terms of the excessive salt. A single bowlful of canned soup has up to 1,000 milligrams of added salt in it. Eat it with two slices of chunky bread with salted butter and you’re over the limit.
Almost everything in a sandwich has added salt. The bread, the meat or poultry, and the butter are all high in sodium. Given the excessive salt in most spreads and sauces, one “healthy” sandwich can clock up well over the 1,500 milligrams maximum recommended daily sodium intake.
Cut the added salt
Avoid eating too much salt without going hungry or having to fix everything from scratch by choosing fresh rather than processed or packaged foods. Check the nutrition information labeling on supermarket products and choose low sodium options. Share a sandwich with a friend and fill up with salad or a side of green vegetables. Ask for your pizza without cheese or have your meat without sauce.
Reducing excess salt in your diet is a good idea. It’s important for weight loss, as too much salt is associated with weight gain. But if you read labels and make wise choices, it’s possible to eat well without going over the healthy limit.