According to the CDC, 90% of Americans consume too much sodium daily. Obviously, potato chips and table salt contain sodium, but the ingredient also sneaks into “healthy” foods. For instance, did you know that cottage cheese is high in sodium? What about salad dressings and frozen fish? If you’re eating these foods, you might be getting more than your recommended 2,300 mg of salt.
Yes, Cottage Cheese Is Salty
Although cottage cheese is healthy, it also has a higher sodium content than other cheeses. Half a cup of cottage cheese has 364 mg of salt or around 819 mg per cup. According to a 2017 Korean study, salt additives preserve texture and enhance flavor.
As such, you won’t find low-salt varieties. If you’re closely monitoring salt content, you can eat cottage cheese sparingly. Or, you can rinse the cheese under running water for three minutes. This might reduce sodium by up to 63%, according to The Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Miso Soup Might Harm Blood Pressure
Miso soup is prized for its many nutrients and benefits for the digestive tract. But for people who are salt-weary, it is not so healthy. In 2003, a study in the journal Circulation found that peoples’ blood pressure increases when they frequently eat miso.
Why? Because of the sodium. On average, most bowls of miso contain around 1,000 mg of salt (or one gram). This high amount has a negative effect on heart rate and blood pressure, despite the dish’s many benefits. If you love miso, you might want to find a “reduced salt” option.
Certain Salad Dressings Are Not Healthy
Although salads are healthy, many store-bought dressings are not. Several dressings have a surprisingly high salt content. One tablespoon of French dressing has 134 mg of salt, and the same amount of Thousand Island dressing contains 138 mg.
Registered dietitian Brigitte Zeitlin recommends avoiding low-fat and fat-free dressings. These replace fat with more sodium and sugar. Plus, many vegetable oils such as olive and avocado provide healthy fats that your body needs. Instead of buying salad dressing, create your own with olive oil, vinaigrette, lemon, and herbs.
Why Packaged Shrimp Has A Surprising Amount Of Salt
While fresh shrimp contains no added sodium, packaged shrimp does. Shrimp can easily become too moist, so manufacturers add sodium tripolyphosphate to minimize water during thawing, according to the Journal of Food Science. The USDA claims that a three-ounce serving of frozen shrimp contains 800 mg of sodium, about 35% of your recommended daily intake.
If you buy breaded shrimp, that’s even more salt! Watch out for additives in frozen food, as that is where many people receive more sodium than they realize.
The Greatest Source Of Sodium: Bread
According to the CDC, bread is the number one salt contributor to the American diet. Although many people don’t expect salt to be in bread, manufacturers add it to preserve taste and help the grains last longer. Biscuits are some of the worst, with a single roll giving you 528 mg of sodium.
If you’re trying to cut down on salt, then you should buy low-sodium bread, says registered dietitian Elizabeth Mulligan. She finds bread with less than 5% of your recommended salt intake, such as Ezekiel and sodium-free whole wheat bread.
Some Processed Cheeses Are Hardly Cheese
Cheese is healthy, right? Yes, but processed cheeses have more sodium than you might realize. Processed cheese, such as American cheese, is preserved with emulsifying salts such as phosphate and sodium. According to Current Research in Dairy Sciences, these are added to make the cheese smooth and last longer.
A single ounce of American cheese contains 377 mg of sodium, which is 16% of your daily recommended dose. On top of that, the FDA reports that processed cheese contains less than 51% cheese. They’re hardly even dairy!
How You Can Substitute Canned Vegetables
Canned vegetables are a convenient way to store greens, but they have far more salt than fresh vegetables. Sodium is added to canned foods in order to preserve the flavor for a long time. Half a cup of canned green beans supplies 200 mg of salt.
Registered dietitian Wendy Palmer told WebMD that there are much healthier options for canned vegetables. For instance, frozen vegetables have as much nutritional value as of fresh ones and little sodium. Although canned vegetables do not have as much salt as other foods, they are still unnecessary.
Even “Healthy” Frozen Dinners Are Salty
Even if you buy a healthy, low-calorie frozen dinner, you’ll still consume a lot of sodium. The Daily Meal reported that some of the least healthy frozen dinners can have over 2,000 mg of sodium! Meanwhile, “low-sodium” and “healthy” meals still have between 300 mg and 800 mg. According to the FDA, a frozen meal has to have less than 600 mg of salt per serving to classify as healthy.
Even so, if you’re monitoring sodium, you might want to stay away from frozen meals in general.
Four Slices Of Bacon Increases The Risk Of Heart Disease
Like many processed types of meat, bacon is high in salt. It undergoes a curing process that fills it with sodium, nitrates, and other additives. A single slice gives you 137 mg.
In February 2020, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that only four slices of bacon can raise your risk of heart disease. You can eat bacon in moderation but don’t over-indulge. Harvard researcher Maryam Farvid told Live Science that removing bacon from your diet is “small but meaningful.” If you want a less sodium-dense alternative, try turkey bacon.
Broth And Stock: Which Is Better?
It’s no secret that soup broths have a large amount of salt, but do you know how much? A single serving of Swanson vegetable broth contains 940 mg of sodium. And if you buy the organic variety, you still get 550 mg per serving. According to Consumer Reports, stocks tends to have less salt than broth because it does not have the added seasoning that pre-made broths do.
Even then, you might want to hunt down the low-sodium varieties if you’re monitoring blood pressure or heart health.