Stories from You Versus Food

8 surprising high-sodium foods, according to a dietitian

Emily Laurence

Emily LaurenceApril 14, 2020

There are a lot of surprising sources of sodium in our diets. Watch the video to see the biggest culprits.

For the record, salt isn’t inherently unhealthy. Neither is sodium, which accounts for about 40 percent of salt’s composition. Sodium is one of the body’s electrolytes, and it helps with muscle contraction and blood flow and volume. But as registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, explains in the latest episode of You Versus Food, too much sodium isn’t great news for your body, either.

“The extra water retention caused by [excess] sodium can significantly raise your blood pressure,” Beckerman says. “This puts a strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys, and even your brain.” Over time, this can lead to cardiovascular issues, she says. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt) per day.

Doing this means more than just watching how much salt you add to your dinner; there are some surprising high-sodium foods to be mindful of, too. “Frozen foods can have sneaky sources of sodium to help with preservation,” Beckerman says. Another food that can be high in sodium that you might not suspect: cheese. Because high-sodium foods don’t always taste salty, it’s always important to check out the nutrition label when grocery shopping as a way to keep your overall sodium intake in check.

Check out the episode above to see the six other surprising high-sodium foods and more of Beckerman’s tips on what to look for when reading the nutrition label. While consuming salt isn’t bad, it’s still important to know your intake. And with the tips in this video, you’ll know exactly what to look out for.

One way to add more flavor to your food without turning to salt: turmeric. And if you’re more concerned about sugar than salt, here are some tips on how to lower your intake.

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