What Are the Top 15 Saltiest Foods?

Medically Reviewed on 3/31/2022
What Are the Top 15 Saltiest Foods
Reducing your salt intake isn’t always easy. Salt makes most foods taste better and can be hidden in foods in surprising amounts. Here are 15 of the saltiest foods to avoid

Reducing your salt intake isn’t always easy. Salt makes most foods taste better and can be hidden in foods in surprising amounts. Here are 15 of the saltiest foods to avoid.

15 of the saltiest foods to avoid

  1. Canned soups: Canned soup can be convenient, but most are extremely high in sodium. For example, canned chicken soup may contain as much as 834 mg of sodium per cup.
  2. Pickles: Salt is often used in the pickling process as a preservative, and store-bought pickles often contain even more salt than is necessary.
  3. Frozen meals: Frozen foods, from frozen pizza to boxed meals, are often packed with salt as part of processing.
  4. Instant noodles: Instant noodles are easy to prepare and inexpensive. However, they contain tons of sodium, not even including the contents of the flavor packet.
  5. Processed meat: Unprocessed meat itself contains high amounts of sodium, and processed meat contains even more. 
  6. Cheese: Although dairy products can be a healthy source of calcium and vitamin D, some products such as cheese can be very high in sodium.
  7. Pizza: Pizza, with its combination of cheese, sauce, and meats, typically contain tons of sodium even in a single slice.
  8. Seafood: Some processed seafood such as shellfish contain a high amount of salt.
  9. Vegetable juice: Commercially available vegetable juices such as tomato juice can be high in salt content. Read nutrition labels carefully.
  10. Pre-cut vegetables: Pre-cut vegetables are often processed with salt as a means of preservative. Adding additional salt when cooking can further increase the sodium content.
  11. Sauces: Sauces are often very high in sodium, as they pack a flavorful punch while also being shelf-stable.
  12. Chips: Chips are not only high in salt but also high in trans fats and unhealthy oils.
  13. Cookies: Salt is often hidden inside baked goods like cookies, since the salt balances the sweetness.
  14. Breads: Bread, rolls, and bagels can contain surprising amounts of salt, especially if they are flavored varieties. 
  15. Cereal: Sugary cereals like corn flakes are often made with a hefty amount of salt.

What are the risks of eating too much sodium?

Your body requires a certain amount of sodium to function properly, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance as well as regulating blood pressure. Most people require only 500 mg of sodium a day. However, most people also consume much more than the recommended amount.

Excess sodium in the blood causes water retention and increases the amount of fluid surrounding your cells. This means more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels. In the long run, the extra work and pressure on these vessels causes them to stiffen, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/31/2022
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