Limiting dietary salt can reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk for cardiac conditions like heart attack and stroke. However, it's not always as easy as putting the salt shaker on the top shelf and looking for low-sodium labels at the grocery store. These seven foods have an unexpected amount of salt, so reducing your intake of these sneaky items can also decrease your sodium intake.
While bread might not taste salty, a single slice can have up to 230 mg of sodium. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, so a single sandwich could represent 20% of your total daily intake. For those of us who have hypertension and other chronic conditions, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum sodium intake of just 1,500 mg a day. If that describes you, one sandwich on white bread could be more than 30% of your ideal daily sodium limit, before you even consider the fillings.
Other types of bread are equal offenders. A bagel, for example, contains 500 mg of sodium, a third of your recommended daily amount.
The University of Utah Health Department reports that processed meats represent the largest source of dietary sodium for most Americans. This category includes bacon, sausage and other breakfast meats as well as packaged lunch meats and deli meats. The CDC reports that 3 oz of packaged or deli turkey breast can have up to 1,050 mg of sodium, representing 70% of the daily limit for the adult at risk for heart attack or stroke.
Raisin Bran Cereal
While this breakfast cereal has a reputation as a classically healthy choice, it also has twice the sodium in a single serving as competitors like Special K, GoLean and Cheerios. If you prefer Raisin Bran and your doctor recommends a low-sodium diet, make sure to account for 350 mg of sodium in a single cup. Two cups of this cereal represents almost half your recommended daily intake of salt.
Even if you don't add any salt, a single slice of pizza could exceed half your recommended daily sodium intake with up to 760 mg. That means if you eat two slices of pizza, you've already had too much salt for the day. As with most foods, frozen pizza tends to have less salt than the restaurant variety, but check the package so you know how much sodium is in each serving size.
Jarred Pasta Sauce
Although tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, jarred marinara and pasta sauces could contain an unwanted dose of sodium. Some varieties contain up to 510 mg of salt in a single half-cup serving. If sauces are a staple for you, check the sodium content on the label before making an Italian-inspired feast.
While low-sodium varieties of canned soup are available, some brands can have up to 940 mg of salt in a single serving. What's more, a can of soup often contains two servings, although many of us eat the entire package in one sitting. Doing so can result in a significant sodium increase, so read the label carefully before having Campbell's or another popular soup brand for lunch.
Boneless Chicken Breasts
Like Raisin Bran, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seen as a quintessentially healthy food choice. However, it's important to keep an eye on the sodium content. Some brands inject a salty solution into the meat to make it moister and more flavorful, which can result in up to 330 mg of sodium in a 4 oz serving. Shop for organic varieties of chicken, which can be as low as 40 mg of sodium per serving.
The CDC reports that the average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium each day. Lower these numbers by shopping smart and avoiding restaurant meals, which are usually very high in salt.