I know sometimes it seems that I have this perfect kitchen, with the perfect gluten free food in it and we just walk around eating carrots and granola all day, but in fact, I do buy what I consider to be ‘junk food.’
Some of the food we eat DOES in fact, come out of a box. Some of the food we eat does have just a bit more sugar than I would like. And I won’t even talk about our SweetTart stash we keep in our nightstand for movie nights. Oy!
But the other day, I went on a rampage. I looked at the salt content of every single product in our house. I was absolutely blown away! I also did some research on the amount of salt intake that is recommended per day.
Let’s start at the beginning. Salt is a naturally occurring mineral that consists of sodium chloride. It is essential for animal life in small quantities. The salt that we ingest comes in many different forms: unrefined salt, or sea salt, refined salt or table salt and iodized salt obtained from sea water or rock deposits. An excess of salt in the diet can lead to a number of heath related issues including stroke, high blood pressure, edema, heartburn, osteoporosis, ulcers and even death.
The recommended daily intake of sodium for an average healthy, adult per day is 2,400 mg. Those with high blood pressure are recommended to limit it to 1,500 mg per day. Although that may seem like a lot, you would be surprised at how much the servings add up. I also looked at how much sodium is a good amount for a particular food. According to one article, 0-200 mg of salt in a serving of food is good. 200-400 mg of salt in a serving of food is okay. And over 400 mg of salt in a serving of food is too much and should be limited in the diet.
Wow! Never having thought of salt before as something to check in my ‘ingredient search,’ I went through my pantry and fridge and made some amazing, yet shocking discoveries. Here are the Top 10 High Sodium Content Foods in our house (a house I thought was pretty healthy):
- Deby’s Gluten Free Bagels – 923 mg
- Gluten Free Café Chicken Noodle Soup – 760 mg
- Safeway Fat Free Refried Beans – 610 mg
- Free Range Chicken Broth – 570 mg
- Udi’s Gluten Free Bagels – 530 mg
- Target brand chicken sausages – 530 mg
- Lundberg Parmesan Cheese Risotto – 490 mg
- Mrs. Leeper’s Gluten Free Cheeseburger Mac – 480 mg
- S & W Black Beans – 480 mg
- Kirkland Turkey Burgers – 390 mg
And then some foods actually surprised me – Top 10 Sodium Surprises:
- Gluten Free Falafel – 240 mg
- Glutino Gluten Free Crackers – 220 mg
- Canned Tuna Fish in water- 180 mg
- Kirkland Tortilla Chips – 150 mg
- Snap Pea Crisps – 125 mg
- Kettle Brand Potato Chips – 110 mg
- Canyon Bakehouse Bread – 100 mg
- Natural Peanut Butter – 100 mg
- Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese – 85 mg
- Corn Tortillas – 30mg
It is not at all surprising that all of the high salt foods I listed are processed foods, made in a factory and easily packaged and ready to purchase at my local super market. Who knew? I know it is difficult to prepare all of your foods for you and your family from scratch. But there is a way to avoid these high salt alternates. Here are Top 10 Healthy and Easy Tips to Lower Your Salt Intake:
- Make your own soups using Low Sodium Broth.
- Avoid pre-packaged boxed meals.
- Make your own burgers using fresh meats and a little seasoning.
- Buy low sodium tomato sauce variety.
- Buy low sodium beans and rinse them before using, or use dry beans
- Make brown rice or quinoa as a side dish.
- Take salt out of your recipes…I since have.
- Put your salt shaker away. Adding extra salt to your food does not help.
- Start reading labels.
- Eat more whole foods…they have no added salt!
See more on “whole foods” in next weeks article!