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Foods That May Be Hiding Excess Sodium

By Paul Rothbart

Although sodium is an essential mineral and electrolyte, the recommended daily allowance of salt is 1,500 milligrams a day. Most people easily get this much and many get a lot more than they need. Excess sodium can be very unhealthy. It has been shown to increase blood pressure and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. But salt is important to good cooking and many diners like the way it seasons their food. You can cut back on the amount you use, but you don't have to eliminate it. You have complete control over how much you add. The problem lies in foods that already contain a considerable amount of salt. Cut back on, or eliminate, some of these and you can bring your sodium content down to a healthy level.

Canned Soup

Canned soup is convenient and some are delicious and do contain essential nutrition. However, like most processed foods, soup in a can is generally loaded with sodium, often as much as 1,000 milligrams per serving. A can is usually two servings, so consuming one puts you over the daily allowance in just one meal. Look for the low sodium variety of your favorite soup. Many of them contain less than 100 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Cold Cuts

Another convenient food enjoyed by many is a good sandwich. But the cured meats and other cold cuts are also heavy in added salt to boost the flavor. Some deli turkey meat contains 1,000 milligrams of sodium in four ounces. Just as with soups, there are low sodium options for deli meats. Another way to lower salt content is to cook your own meats and slice them. That way you can use exactly the amount of salt you need.


One of the primary ingredients of cheese is salt. In addition to flavor, it adds texture and helps preserve it. But eating cheese can increase your sodium to an unhealthy level. Different types of cheese have different amounts of salt. Bleu cheese, haloumi, and feta. Fortunately, there are low-sodium cheeses such as mozzarella, Swiss, and cream cheese. 

Salad Dressing

Salads are healthy and a nice dressing can add flavor and punch. But bottled dressings are notoriously high in salt. Read the labels and buy low-sodium products. Better still, you can make your own from oil, vinegar, and whatever other ingredients you like such as mustard or honey.

The body needs sodium to stay healthy but too much can cause high blood pressure and lead to other problems. Many foods, especially processed, are heavy in salt. Be mindful of this and opt for the lower sodium varieties to improve your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Coral Springs, Fla.

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