5 Foods That Have More Salt Than You Think

In a survey we ran, many respondents said that they consume the right amount of salt in a day (this being 1 teaspoon of salt per day).

This suggests that you may be conscious about keeping your salt intake under control.

That’s a good thing, right?

WRONG!

Here’s the salty truth — it’s actually difficult to keep track of how much salt you consume. This is because many of the foods you eat are sneaky sources of excess salt. The World Health Organization recommends that your daily salt intake should not exceed 5 grams and sodium intake should not exceed 2 grams. That’s just about 1 teaspoon of salt!

Excess salt in your diet can cause high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to various health complications if left untreated.

So how do you keep tabs on how much salt you consume? The first step is to be aware about common foods that can be high in salt, so that you can limit their intake. Below are some of these foods:

#1: Cheese

You can all agree that cheese elevates your favourite dishes and makes them more exciting. But salt is a major component of cheese as it enhances the flavour and texture, and also prolongs its shelf life. Some cheeses like halloumi, feta, and blue cheese can pack up to more than 0.35 grams of sodium per serving. That’s about 15–20% of your daily recommended sodium intake.

Keep in mind that if you’re consuming cheese on a particular day, you may want to avoid any other high-salt foods to keep your overall intake low.

#2: Canned soup and vegetables

Yes, canned products may seem like the easiest option during those busy days. But they are notoriously high in sodium. For example, half a cup of drained corn from a can has about 0.3 grams of sodium, and a can of soup can have up to 2–3 grams of sodium. So with one can of soup, you may already end up surpassing your daily recommended sodium intake. Opt for low-sodium alternatives, or whip up soup with fresh vegetables to control the amount of salt you add.

#3: Pickles

Pickles (or achaar) can be an almost indispensable accompaniment to those bland or mundane dishes. But depending on the brand, one tablespoon of pickle can have around 0.7 grams of sodium. So the next time you want to liven up your boring meal, watch out for how much pickle you put on your plate!

#4: Packaged savoury snacks

Those packets of chips and savoury snacks you may indulge in from time-to-time tend to be high in salt. This will also depend on the brand and flavour of the product. For example, one packet of “sour cream and onion”-flavoured chips (about 250 grams) can have around 1.4 grams of sodium. Given how delicious these snacks are made to be, it’s easy to go overboard, and before you know it, you’ve already crossed your daily sodium intake. It’s important to be mindful when snacking on savoury packaged goods.

#5: Processed meats

Cold cuts and cured meats make convenient fillings for sandwiches, additions to dishes like pasta, and even side dishes. But processed meats contain salt to elevate the flavours and make the meats last longer. A deli-style turkey slice can have up to 1 gram of sodium. One link of chicken sausage (about 95 grams) can have up to 0.7 grams of sodium. To ensure your meals are low in sodium, opt for meat that you can cook or cut yourself.

High salt intake can be a notorious driver of various health issues. And given how foods we consume frequently can have unhealthy levels of salt, it’s vital to be vigilant about what’s going in your body. Even that second of hesitation before you open a savoury packaged snack is a positive step forward in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!

DISCLAIMER: Dr. YOU aims to bring you the latest evidence-based science, and our content is for informational purposes only. The content is not medical advice or guarantee of an outcome. You should always consult a doctor or qualified healthcare professional if you need further clarification and before making any changes to your treatment plans and lifestyle, or that of others.

Dr. YOU is a one-stop platform to address the health information needs of health consumers. Our goal is to arm people with the information necessary to make meaningful decisions regarding their health and nudge behaviour change.

With our combined experience of two decades in research and healthcare, we built the Dr. YOU platform around the WHO-endorsed “Best Buy” intervention design for preventing and managing chronic diseases.

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