Too much sodium can have negative effects on our health. We consume sodium each day, and that’s good because our bodies need the mineral sodium to help maintain water-electrolyte balance and blood volume. But a diet high in sodium is strongly correlated with an increased risk for high blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease and stroke.
You may be surprised to learn that most of the sodium in our diets doesn’t even come from the salt shaker: It’s hiding in foods we eat every day.
High levels of sodium can cause the body to retain too much fluid. This can be harmful to people with high blood pressure or heart, liver or kidney diseases. People with these conditions should be especially careful about sodium intake.
The current percent daily value (%DV) for sodium is 2400mg, however, the American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure eat less than 1500mg per day, or less than 3/4 of a table spoon of salt.
Some of the top salt shockers include:
Beef Noodle Soup (2,354 mg or 98% DV per ounce)
Ham and egg biscuit (1,989 mg or 83% DV per biscuit)
Whole wheat pancake mix (1,987mg 83% DV per cup)
Canned sweet peppers (1,917 mg or 80% DV per cup)
Soy Sauce (1,228 mg or 51% DV in one tablespoon)
Mini pretzels (1,029 mg in 10 mini rounds)
Frozen pepperoni pizza (902 mg in one slice)
Dill pickles (881 mg in one medium pickle)
Salted pumpkin seeds (711mg or 30% DV per ounce)
Cooked bacon (614mg or 25% DV in one ounce, 175 mg in one slice)
Canned peas (428 mg in 1/2 cup)
Bacon (303 mg per slice)
Remember salt can be hidden in ketchup, frozen dinners, and instant hot cereals. Other examples include salad dressings, mustard, meat tenderizer, cheeses, instant foods, pickles, canned vegetables and soups, salsa and barbecue sauce. Even common medications such as antacids, laxatives and cough remedies contain sodium compounds.
Package label terms to be aware of and check include:
Sodium free or salt free/Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
Low sodium/140 milligrams or less of sodium per serving
Reduced or less sodium/At least 25% less sodium than the food’s standard serving
Light sodium/50% less sodium than the food’s standard serving
Unsalted or no salt added/No salt added during processing, but could contain natural sodium
Steps to Reduce Your Sodium
- Get rid of or limit your use of the salt shaker. Try a shaker with smaller holes.
- Substitute salt seasoning with other flavorings, such as onion, garlic, lemon, vinegar, black pepper, or parsley.
- Choose fresh, frozen or canned vegetables without added salt.
- Cook fresh or frozen fish, poultry and meat more often than canned or processed forms.
- Compare the amounts of sodium in various brands of frozen dinners, packaged mixes, cereals, cheese, breads, salad dressings, soups and sauces. Sodium content varies widely among different brands.
- Rinse canned beans and vegetables to remove added salt before cooking.
- Choose foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium” or “sodium free.”
- Know how much sodium is in your favorite condiments, especially soy sauce, steak sauce, ketchup and salsa. Limit your intake accordingly.
- Avoid foods with MSG (monosodium glutamate), particularly when dining out. You can ask to have your meal prepared without MSG.
- Try to limit your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.