American Heart Association List of High Sodium Foods
The American Heart Association publishes a list of foods providing high levels of sodium in the American diet. USDA sodium limits for Americans are 2,300 mg per day if you are 50 or younger and 1,500 mg per day if you are over 50, African American or have high blood pressure or are sodium sensitive.
If you are concerned about the amount of sodium in your diet, you can make significant reductions by reducing or eliminating the following foods:
1. Bread and rolls: One slice/serving of bread can have 230 mg of sodium or more. One roll or bun up to 800mg of sodium. That’s 35% of the recommended 2,300mg daily amount. One serving may not seem like much, but it can quickly add up throughout the day with toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, crackers for snacks, and a roll for dinner, etc.
2. Cold cuts and cured meats: Deli and pre-packaged turkey and chicken are usually lower in fat than ham or beef but can have as much as 1,050 mg of sodium for a 2 ounce (56g) serving. Salt is added to most cooked and processed meats, same as it has been for thousand’s of years, to reduce spoilage.
3. Pizza: One slice of pizza (frozen, restaurant, take-out or delivered) can have up to 760 mg of sodium. Two slices provides someone limited to 1,500mg per day with a day’s worth of sodium. If you love pizza, make your own using frozen pizza dough and low sodium toppings or with low sodium homemade pizza dough.
4. Poultry: Fresh poultry processed without added salt solution has less than 100 mg of sodium per serving. Some packaged raw chicken contain an added salt solution. Depending on how it’s prepared the sodium level can quickly add up. One serving with salt solution can have 300mg of sodium or more. Three ounces of frozen and breaded chicken nuggets contains about 600 mg of sodium.
5. Soup: This cold-weather comfort food from a can or a restaurant can contain a day’s worth of sodium in a single bowl. The label on canned soup may say “natural” or “organic” but that usually means sea salt was used instead of table salt. One cup of canned chicken soup can have up to 940 mg of sodium. Organic soups typically have 30 to 40 percent less sodium per one cup serving, but can still provide 500mg of sodium or more.
6. Sandwiches: Breads and cured meats are already high in sodium, and putting them together with salty condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise can result in a sandwich with 1,500 mg of sodium or more. Even healthier choices like canned tuna and salmon are higher in sodium than their fresh counterparts. Do not assume a tuna or salmon salad sandwich is low sodium. It may be lower in sodium but still provide more than you need in a single serving.
If you are on a restricted sodium diet or concerned about reducing the amount of sodium in your diet, read the nutrition facts label paying attention to serving size and beware of claims of healthy, natural and organic with a grain of salt. Most fast food and national restaurant chains provide nutrition information on their website. Since salt is an inexpensive flavor enhancer many restaurants use far too much salt in their recipes.