Sodium, found in common table salt, plays in important role in bodily functions. It is critical in maintaining fluid levels, aiding nutrient absorption, and muscle function. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 1,500mg of sodium a day to remain healthy. However, the average American consumes over 3,400mg of sodium a day; more than 200% the recommended amount.
This high-sodium diet is linked to high blood pressure, which can increase risks of cardiovascular issues such as stroke and heart disease - the number cause of death in the United States.
While it's easy to control how much salt you sprinkle on your food for taste, the majority of excess sodium comes packaged in processed foods - something that consumers cannot directly control. Some salty processed foods are easy to spot (potato chips), but many unexpected foods can contain more sodium than you need. Be on the lookout for these 5 unexpected salty foods next time you're grocery-shopping:
Although Raisin Bran contains a healthy serving of fiber and minerals with considerably less sugar than some other cereals, it contains more than twice the amount of sodium of cereal such as Cheerios (190mg/serving) and Special K (147mg/serving).
A favorite convenient comfort food, be aware that a single serving of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup contains more than 80% of your total recommended sodium intake! A source of the sodium is the preservatives included in processed soups. For homestyle comfort with reasonable sodium levels, make chicken noodle soup with fresh ingredients.
Ketchup is America's favorite condiment. From eggs to burgers, it's hard to find something that ketchup isn't good on. That's unfortunate though, because a single tablespoon contains more than 10% of the daily recommended sodium intake. Combined with salted fries, and you're likely to go way over the AHA recommendation.
Two slices of pumpernickel is 380mg of sodium - that's about a quarter of the daily recommendation, even before adding condiments, cheese, and meat. Examine labels closely when purchasing breads - or better yet, buy it fresh or bake it yourself.
It's hard to find someone that hasn't used Kraft Singles for grilled cheese or a bagged sandwich. Two slices contains more than 33% of the AHA daily recommendation. Combined with Heinz Ketchup and Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel in a sandwich, that's close to a full day's serving of sodium in less than a single sandwich!