Hidden Salt in Your Foods - PIH Health

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Published on December 26, 2017

Eat less salt

Hidden Salt in Your Foods

Eat less saltDid you know that one teaspoon (five milliliters) of table salt contains 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium? According to the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, Healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. Adults with high blood pressure should have no more than 1,500 mg per day; and those with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis and kidney disease may need to consume lower amounts, and should talk to a primary care physician to know what the right amount is for their optimal health.  

High sodium intake can raise blood pressure, which is a cause of heart disease and stroke, and may even damage other organs including the kidneys and eyes. “Most meals we eat, especially restaurant dinners and fast food meals can provide a whole day’s supply of sodium,” said Danielle Halewijn MHA RD CDE, clinical nutrition manager at PIH Health Whittier Hospital. “Avoid adding additional salt to your meal before you taste it

Here are a few foods that are high in salt (try to avoid or limit these foods if possible):

  • Canned beans and vegetables
  • Pizza
  • Cured meats including Ham
  • Canned meats including tuna
  • Canned and restaurant style soups
  • Burritos
  • Bagged chips, pretzels, and crackers and instant pudding
  • Pickles and olives
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Most condiments, such as barbeque sauce, Teriyaki sauce, ketchup and Soy sauce

“Lowering sodium in your diet is possible and can have a significant impact on your health,” said Andrea Adams RD, clinical dietitian at PIH Health Downey Hospital. “With so many quick food options available to us in the United States, it’s easy to grab and go, but that also puts us at a higher risk for over consumption of salt.”

Home cooked meals make for a better option when trying to reduce your salt intake. In fact, about five to six percent of the sodium that Americans eat comes from salt added at the table. “By knowing what spices or seasoning you are adding to your home cooked meals, you can make a cautious decision that will help your overall health,” added Adams.

Tips for reducing salt in your diet:

  • Cook at home.
  • Use lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and spices that are not blended with salt.
  • Read nutrition labels on food packaging for the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods. Foods considered low in sodium contain less than five percent of the daily value of sodium.
  • Eat more raw and fresh fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to wash rinse them off before consuming.
  • When purchasing frozen vegetables, pick those that are labeled “fresh frozen” and do not have any added flavoring, such as sauces or seasoning.
  • When dining at a restaurant, ask for low-sodium options.
  • Use fresh, rather than packaged meats.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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