Do you ever consider how much sodium you are consuming? Most individuals need under 2,300 mg of sodium per day. This might sound like a lot, but it actually adds up very quickly and most will actually eat twice as much of this recommended amount. Ok, so why should you care? Well, aside from being linked to heart problems and certain diseases, too much sodium can also make you very uncomfortable. This is because an overload of sodium in the body leads to fluid retention, weight gain, bloating, and all around puffiness – nobody wants any of that 🙂
The tricky thing about sodium is that a meal doesn’t even have to necessarily taste salty to be loaded with it, so it can be hard to tell how much sodium you are taking in. That is why it is best to at least have some understanding of what foods inherently have a higher level of sodium so that you can cut back on certain food items as needed.
Read below to learn where sodium is hiding in your foods:
Does bread taste salty to you? Nope, didn’t think so, but yes it is often loaded with sodium.
Decrease your sodium intake from bread by choosing lower sodium breads and by sticking to one piece of bread at a time (aka open face sandwich) or skipping the bread entirely.
Note: Bread includes ALL bread items such as pizza, toast, sandwiches, buns, breaded chicken or fish, etc.
Processed foods tend to be loaded with sodium to make them taste good. Check the sodium content and the serving size before buying.
Not sure what processed foods are? Think about it this way, any food that has more than one ingredient is likely a processed food. Processed foods are some of the worst foods you can eat anyway, so this is just another reason to cut back on them 🙂
Canned products such as beans and soups are often loaded with sodium, so definitely read the nutrition label before buying! Look for cans that say “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” so you know at least the brand is trying to lower the salt content.
I LOVE cheese but cheese is definitely packed with sodium. You don’t have to cut cheese out, just watch portion sizes because the sodium can add up quickly with just a few bites. The saltiest cheeses include American, blue, parmesan, and feta.
The thing about salted nuts is that it’s hard to stick to one serving which is typically 1/4 a cup, because the salt makes you want to eat more and more of the nuts. This leads to hundreds of milligrams of sodium added to your day without you even realizing it.
Instead of salted nuts, go for raw nuts which tend to be healthier anyway because they haven’t been processed or roasted like most salted nuts have.
Deli meat and cured meats
Deli meats and cured meats are some of the saltiest foods you can eat. Especially when you pair these with cheese or make a sandwich (think condiments, bread, cheese, etc).
Tomato based foods
Tomato based foods are typically loaded with sodium so be mindful of this when eating pasta, pizza, salsa, and tomato soup.
Check the condiments you use on a regular basis for their sodium content and serving size. The sodium to serving size can be deceiving because the serving size is generally extremely small and most individuals tend to use at least triple the amount.
For example, mustard has around 50 mg of sodium in a teaspoon – who only uses a teaspoon? Ketchup has around 150-200 mg of sodium in a tablespoon – who uses only a tablespoon?
Most restaurant meals are loaded with sodium and just one meal can surpass a days worth of sodium – no bueno!
The worst offenders tend to be asian based dishes – think soy sauce, sweet and sour soup, broth, etc. The dishes with the least amount of sodium tend to be salads.
We do need some sodium in our diet, but most of us take in WAY too much sodium on a daily basis. Use the above as a reference for some of the saltiest foods that are out there and where you could cut back on your sodium intake.
Remember, all hope is not lost if you overdid it on salt one day – read this article on how to get rid of excess salt overnight to feel lighter faster.