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Lower Your Sodium Intake: Six Surprising Salty Items

Our Washington University columnist shares tips for cutting down on sodium intake by watching six foods with high salt content.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams or less each day, yet most Americans are consuming a little more than 3,400 milligrams each day.

Reducing sodium intake requires cutting back on salt used in cooking and added to your food but the AHA says six foods might be the real source of sodium in your diet. 

The AHA points to six foods as the top sources of sodium in diets. These foods are:

  • Breads and rolls which can have as much as 230 milligrams of sodium in one slice
  • Cold cuts and cured meats which often contain 100 milligrams or more
  • Pizza — coming in at 700 milligrams or more per slice
  • Poultry that has been boosted with broth to keep it moist or those quick bite chicken nuggets, wings or other prepared items which can easily provide 500 milligrams or more
  • Canned soups
  • Sandwiches which often start at 500 milligrams just because of the bread

In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for American's breads and rolls, cold cuts, pizza and chicken and chicken dishes were all listed as top contributors but the other two top items were pasta and pasta dishes, along with condiments.  

If a part of your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, paying more attention to your sodium intake is a good task to add to your “to do” list. Learn to read labels and look for the words salt, sodium or soda to see what ingredients are adding to the sodium total. If your current intake of salt is high change your use and intake of salt slowly so that your palate can stay up with the changes. 

The AHA has lots of good information about changing sodium intake and you can learn more by checking out their campaign - “Change Your Salty Ways in 21 Days.” 

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