Eat This Not That: When Salt is at Fault

by Joanna

Do you have a problem with sodium to the point where your doctor is concerned about your blood pressure? Are you trying to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol naturally first before using prescription medication? If this sounds like you, then you have come to the right place. It is a fact that most of the sodium we get in our diet is not from the salt shaker, but is from the foods we eat. Genetically, if your parents had high blood pressure, then the odds of you having high blood pressure are more probable. Unfortunately we cannot control the gene pool that our parents dipped in, but sometimes it may be as easy as watching the sodium content in the things you eat. Here is a list of common foods that have high amounts of sodium and recommendations of alternatives. The findings may surprise you!

  • A 5 oz frozen turkey can pack a whopping 787 milligrams of sodium.
  • Be wary when looking at light versions of frozen dinners because many times it looks at the fat content not the sodium content. All in all it is probably best just to stay clear of these meals when trying to lower your sodium content.
  • Ready to eat cereals such as raisin bran can contain up to 360 milligrams of sodium per cup.
  • Look for low sodium cereals such as Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted Oat both have less then 100milligrams of sodium. Look for cereals with puffed wheat and rice products as they generally are sodium free!
  • V8 vegetable juice may be 100% juice, but it also contains 480 milligrams of sodium per every 8 servings. The V Fusion juices only have 69 milligrams of sodium, but also contain 111 calories.
  • Stick with good old H2O! Sure these juices help you to get your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but if you are watching your weight and your sodium intake, it is better to just buy some fresh produce from your local farmer’s market to get your daily intake.
  • A cup of canned cream corn can contain 720 milligrams of sodium, and will be swimming in preservatives, sauces, and seasonings.
  • Again it is better to stick with either corn off the cob or corn that you would find in the freezer at your nearest grocer.
  • Packaged deli meats such as beef and salami can contain 362 milligrams of sodium per every two slices.
  • Usually packaged products and even beef and salami that you would buy from the deli will contain large amounts of sodium to preserve the meat for longer periods of time. Even reduced fat salami and beef have high amounts of sodium; therefore it is probably best to stay away from these meat products when watching your sodium intake. Some brands do offer meats with 50% less sodium, but make sure to read the label!
  • 1 tablespoon of teriyaki and soy sauce can contain astounding amounts of sodium. Teriyaki sauce can contain 690 milligrams of sodium, while soy sauce will have 1,024 milligrams!
  • Even lower sodium versions of these marinades have large amounts of sodium. Stay away from these and use vinegar and lemon juice to enhance flavor.
  • Spaghetti sauces can contain as much as 525 milligrams per half cup.
  • Look for sodium free spaghetti sauces or make your own! Use diced, crushed, or stewed tomatoes or tomato paste, use garlic, oregano, and basil to keep the sodium down, but the flavor up.
  • An ounce of dry roasted salty peanuts contains 230 milligrams of sodium. In comparison, an ounce of dry roasted salty mixed nuts contains 190 milligrams of sodium.
  • Buy the unsalted variety pack which has virtually no sodium.
  • 1 ounce servings of these obviously high sodium content foods are as follows:
    • Potato chips = 149 milligrams
    • Cheese puffs = 258 milligrams
    • Pretzels = 385 milligrams
  • The baked or fat-free counterparts of these snack time favorites can contain just as much sodium, so it is important to read the label before buying these snacks when trying to cut sodium. 
  • It is important not to forget that condiments do count when calculating your daily sodium allowance. The following are high sodium contents of popular add-ons to your favorite meals:
    • Ketchup (1 tablespoon) = 167 milligrams
    • Sweet relish (1 tablespoon) = 122 milligrams
    • Capers (1 tablespoon) = 255 milligrams (drained)
  • Look for low sodium alternatives to these, or change it up and try something different as an alternative.

Have you lowered your blood pressure simply by changing your diet? Are you surprised by the findings of some of the foods with high sodium content?  


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