Watch Out for Hidden Salt
We all know we shouldn’t eat too much salt. Overdoing it can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related diseases.
The problem is that salt is hidden everywhere, even in foods that you might not suspect, like bread and milk. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. And if you’re over 51, African American, or have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes, you should limit it to less than 1,500 mg. But according to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the estimated average intake of sodium for Americans is a whopping 3,400 mg per day.
Hidden salt is often the culprit. A big problem is that salt lurks everywhere, even in foods that you might not suspect, like bread and milk. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 75% of the sodium in the average American diet comes from salt added to processed foods, so think twice before you buy those hot dogs and chips.. Here are some of the worst offenders:
1. Breakfast cereal: You may be surprised to learn that some breakfast cereals can have 300 mg of sodium per one-cup serving. The next time you reach for that box of cereal, check out the nutritional label on the back, or opt for low sodium breakfast such as yogurt with fruit or a homemade smoothie.
2. Frozen meals: These pre-made, microwaveable meals are loaded with sodium. Some of these dinners can have more than 1,200 mg of sodium each, as well as other unhealthy additives and preservatives.
3. Canned soup: It’s tempting to turn to canned soup when it’s cold outside, but it can be packed with sodium. Conventional canned soups contain 750 mg of salt per cup, so it’s best to make your own or purchase the lower-sodium varieties.
4. Deli meats: Processed and cured meats account for 10% of the American food supply. These products are packed with sodium, often in the dangerous form of sodium nitrate, a carcinogenic preservative. Avoid deli meats altogether or look for nitrate-free varieties.
5. Canned vegetables: Some canned vegetables can carry as much as 500 mg of sodium per serving! It’s best to buy fresh or frozen vegetables, if possible. If you do consume the vanned variety, read the label carefully and choose low-sodium or no-salt-added options.
Steer clear of the salt shaker, too. There are a wide range of tasty herbs and spices that you can use to enhance the flavor of your foods without adding salt. Lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and onion, are all popular options that will make your food delicious without damaging your health.