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Sodium is an essential mineral which plays a vital role in maintaining the fluid balance in the body. Sodium helps contract and relax the muscles and aids in nerve transmission.
Sodium works with other minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium to balance the water levels in the cells of the body. However, excess sodium can be harmful as it can raise high blood pressure leading to heart disease and stroke.
Table salt, chemically known as sodium chloride contains the highest amount of sodium with 100 g containing 38758 mg sodium. Sodium is added to foods for flavouring and used as a food preservative. It's important to know the foods which are high in sodium so that you can consume them in less quantities.
1. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is rich in calcium, phosphorus, sodium, vitamin B12 and folate. The salt present in cottage cheese adds flavour, texture and acts as a preservative. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that rinsing cottage cheese under running water for 3 minutes reduced sodium by 63% .
100 g of cottage cheese contains 364 mg sodium.
2. Vegetable juice
Drinking vegetable juice is a good way to meet your daily dietary requirements. However, drinking commercially sold vegetable juices have an adverse effect on your health because they contain a lot of sodium.
3. Canned soup
Soups which are canned, packaged and prepared in restaurants contain excess sodium for preserving it. And these soups also contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), another additive that poses several health risks.
100 g of canned chicken and rice soup contains 181 mg sodium and 100 g of canned tomato soup contains 377 mg sodium.
Packaged, plain, frozen shrimp has sodium which is used as a preservative. To retain the moisture in shrimps, sodium tripolyphosphate is added and the sodium content is 318 mg. So, try consuming fresh-caught shrimps as they contain less sodium.
5. Canned vegetables
Canned vegetables are packed with sodium. A study found that draining and rinsing canned vegetables can lower the sodium content. During the study, canned veggies such as canned corn, peas and green beans were rinsed with 3.5 litres of lukewarm water and allowed to drain for 2 minutes, as a result, the sodium content was reduced effectively .
Pickles contain a lot of sodium, for example - 100 g beef pickle contains 973 mg sodium, 100 g cauliflower pickle contains 186 mg sodium, 100 g mustard pickle contains 527 mg sodium, and mixed pickles contain 855 mg sodium.
7. Processed cheese
Processed cheese has a high sodium content as compared to natural cheese because processed cheese contains emulsifying salts like sodium phosphate, which makes it so smooth and consistent.
Sauces such as soy sauce, tomato sauce and barbecue sauce are high in sodium. 100 g of soy sauce contains 5493 mg sodium, 100 g of tomato sauce contains 459 mg sodium, and 100 g of barbecue sauce contains 1027 mg sodium.
9. Canned tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are high in sodium as compared to whole tomatoes. 100 g of crushed canned tomatoes contains 186 mg sodium and 100 g of raw tomatoes contains 42 mg sodium.
The pizza that you eat almost every day is packed with sodium due to the presence of cheese, sauce, processed meat and dough. All of these combined increases the sodium content in pizza.
100 g of pizza contains 424 mg sodium.
11. Canned meat
Canned meats, poultry and seafood have a lot of sodium as compared to fresh meat, poultry and seafood. 100 g of canned chicken meat contains 482 mg sodium, 100 g canned meat contains 1071 mg sodium and 100 g of canned shrimps contains 870 mg sodium. So, try incorporating fresh meat, poultry and seafood in your diet.
The store-bought sandwiches that you consume contain a good amount of sodium. It is due to the ingredients used, such as white bread, processed meat, cheese and condiments that contribute to a significant amount of sodium.
100 g of pork sandwich contains 441 mg sodium
100 g of grilled cheese sandwich contains 804 mg sodium
100 g of egg salad sandwich contains 397 mg sodium
Broths, specially packaged broths are high in salt. Broths are used to flavour meat or as a base for soups and stews. 100 g of chicken broth contains 358 mg sodium and vegetable broth contains 350 mg sodium.
The biscuits that you eat as a snack to curb hunger is high in sodium too. So, limit the consumption of biscuits because 100 g of biscuits contains 560 mg sodium.
15. Salad dressing
Most store-bought salad dressing packs contain a lot of sodium, sugar, saturated fat, artificial flavours and artificial colours. Instead, go for healthy salad dressings such as honey, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
100 g of salad dressing contains 733 mg sodium
Salami contains salt, preservatives and additives, this makes it a food rich in sodium. Instead of salami, go for healthier options like sliced, fresh meat.
100 g of salami contains 1156 mg sodium.
Pretzels are baked pastries made from dough. Before baking they are sprinkled with large grains of salt as a preservative to help them stay fresh.
100 g of pretzels contains 1266 mg sodium
18. Baked beans
Baked beans contain high amounts of sodium. It is made by parboiling white beans and then baking them at a low temperature for a long period of time in some sauce.
100 g of baked beans contains 422 mg sodium.
Sausages are high in sodium due to the presence of salt, preservatives and flavour enhancers. It is made from ground meat like pork, beef or chicken.
100 g of pork or beef sausage contains 848 mg sodium
20. Hot dogs
Hot dogs are made of processed meat and are loaded with sodium and saturated fat which make them an unhealthy food choice.
100 g of sodium contains 1090 mg sodium.
Ham is loaded with salt, which is added to cure and flavour the meat. 100 g of ham contains 1203 mg sodium.
22. Instant pudding mix
Instant pudding mix also contains high amounts of salt and sodium-containing additives like tetrasodium pyrophosphate and disodium phosphate. 100 g of instant pudding mix contains 1409 mg sodium.
Other foods high in sodium are macaroni and cheese, yeast bread, burritos, tacos, ready-to-eat cereal, cakes and pies.
What happens if you eat too much sodium?
Having excess sodium leads to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and stomach cancer.
What foods are low in sodium?
Foods low in sodium are fresh fruits, dried fruits and fresh vegetables, brown rice, quinoa, and brown bread.
How do you flush out sodium?
Drinking plenty of water will help flush out excess sodium from the body.
What should I do if I ate too much sodium?
Hydrate your body, eat potassium-rich foods, do exercises that make you sweat, and eat healthy foods.
How much sodium do I need?
The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day for adults with high blood pressure. The ideal limit of sodium is no more than 2,300 mg per day.