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Say No-No to Salty Foods

February 15, 2011

I receive the WebMD daily newsletter. Today’s covers salt.

U.S. guidelines call for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day — about 1 teaspoon of table salt. And roughly half of Americans should drop to 1,500 milligrams per day. Surprisingly, most of our salt intake is hidden in the foods we buy at the grocery store.

As part of my modified diet — I was about 75% there including low salt intake which results in my having normal blood pressure — I needed to knock off the chips. I love tortilla chips and potato chips. I heard a report last week that said eating a few chips will raise blood pressure and constrict arteries within 20 minutes. Also, I eat some soy sauces for potstickers – way high in salt. I eat very little processed foods and eat fresh veggies. I cook my foods and avoid fast food. Even the occasional pizza and burger are hidden health sodium bombs — and fatty.

The WebMD slide show points out:

1. Frozen foods are often loaded with sodium. I simply do not eat these.
2. Cereals often have high sodium content. Try granola or oatmeal.
3. Veggie drinks – high in sodium. Buy a juicer.
4. Canned foods – high in sodium. Have been off my list for many years.
5. Processed meats – ham, bacon, deli-meats – very high in sodium.
6. Processed canned soups — I just looked at some of these the other day and saw 300, 350, 450, and even 700 mg of sodium per can!
7. Sauces like pasta in a jar — high in sodium; Make your own.
8. Nuts, snacks, chips……salt. Samples: These snack-time favorites are always a safe bet for high salt content.

Here’s how a 1 oz serving compares.

* Potato chips = 149 mg
* Cheese puffs = 258 mg
* Pretzels = 385 mg

9. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc; Salty

10. Restaurant pitfalls: Restaurant soups are generally very high in sodium, as are appetizers with cheeses or meats. Casserole entrées and Rice Pilaf are also common pitfalls. The word “sauce” at a restaurant is sometimes synonymous with sodium, so you may want to steer clear of entrees slathered in sauce. If you ask, most restaurants are willing to prepare your food with less or no sodium.

WebMD also notes:

Notoriously high-sodium offenders include Teriyaki sauce (1 tablespoon) which contains 690 mg of sodium, and soy sauce (1 tablespoon), which may contain up to 1,000 mg of sodium.

Tips: Even “lower-sodium” soy sauce packs a wallop, so use sparingly. Go for vinegar and lemon juice to enhance flavor — they naturally have less sodium. And try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades.

Go here to watch the entire slideshow.

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