Salt is sodium chloride and it’s the form of sodium that adds taste to the tongue but can cause problems for the rest of the body. It is the reason behind many health conditions like blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke, and exercise-induced asthma. Just avoiding direct salt in the diet does not reduce salt levels as it is hidden in many of the processed foods we eat.
Nearly 80 percent of the salt we consume is from the salt in processed foods. Salt helps to preserve food, is inexpensive and makes food more palatable. It is mostly added to processed foods as a flavor enhancer and preservative. It becomes very important to know what we are eating and avoid processed foods like cereals, soups, salad dressings, bread spreads, and bread. It is good to look more carefully at the labels for a low sodium alternative.1
Salty Foods You Thought Were Healthy
1. Bread And Spreads Are Loaded With Salt
The salt content in bread is misleading as bread does not taste salty. Bread contains more sodium than snack chips, as the salt is mainly on the surface in chips. Bread is an integral part of most meals so finding lower sodium bread can be a challenge. Bread needs accompaniments, most of which contain sodium too. Mayonnaise, peanut butter, and tomato ketchup contain a substantial amount of sodium in them.2
2. Processed Meat Contains Salt
Processed meat is high in sodium as it needs to preserve well. Fresh meat is comparatively low in sodium. It is better to spend some time to cook fresh meat and use it in your daily diet than to use processed meat.3The same goes for fish and seafood- they often are preserved using a lot of salt.
3. Tomato-Based Condiments Are Filled With Salt
A spoon of tomato ketchup is said to have 140 mg of sodium, a bit on the higher side for an accompaniment. Consuming it with salty french fries, sandwiches or burgers will send the salt levels soaring. Not a good idea for someone suffering from kidney disease.4
4. Boxed Cereal Have A High Level Of Salt
Boxed cereal sold in instant or flavored forms contain considerable amounts of added sodium. A typical serving of corn flakes may contain 300 to 400 mg of sodium. They also need to be kept away for their sugar content!5
5. Cottage Cheese Is Loaded With Salt
Though milk is neither a low-sodium nor high-sodium food, cottage cheese is a high sodium food. It is said to have sodium nearly three times more than milk. We aren’t aware of its high sodium content as it does not taste salty. The reason? Cottage cheese loses most of its water in processing, leading to a concentrated form of all the minerals present in milk.6
6. Soups Contain A Lot Of Salt
Canned soups or soup mixes contain a considerable amount of sodium, added during processing. A can of soup that usually has two servings has a sodium content of nearly 600 to 1000 mg per serving. Preparing soups from scratch can reduce the sodium content by nearly half or even more.7
7. Bottled Salad Dressing Is High In Salt
Salad vegetables as such contain no sodium. All the sodium that they acquire is from salad dressing or toppings like cheese, or in some cases, processed meat. Most store-bought salad dressing contains large amounts of added salt. They contain nearly 200 to 260 mg per 30ml serving.8
It is not enough to just keep the salt shaker off of the table; it is very important to keep away all processed foods that contain high levels of sodium hidden in them. The safest would be to cook our own food and check labels before purchase.
|↑1||Galea Anthony. The Real Secret to Optimal Health. Hachette UK, 2013.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑8||Daugirdas .T. John. Handbook of Chronic Kidney Disease Management. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.|
|↑4||Tilley Maureen. Hold That Hidden Salt!: Recipes for Delicious Alternatives to Processed, Salt-heavy Supermarket Favourites. Formac Publishing Company Limited, 2011.|
|↑5, ↑6, ↑7||Bricklin Mark.Prevention Magazine’s Nutrition Advisor: The Ultimate Guide to the Health-Boosting and Health-Harming Factors in Your Diet. The Editors of Prevention Magazine Rodale, 1994.|