Avoid These 10 High-Sodium Foods For Your Health - Here Are 10 Ways to Cut Back

Avoid These 10 High-Sodium Foods For Your Health - Here Are 10 Ways to Cut Back

2024 is the year for good health and here's something you should be paying attention to: how much sodium are you consuming daily? Leading to many health implications, having a high sodium intake is nothing but bad news. If you're looking for ways to cut back and maintain a healthy balance, we've provided a list of 10 high-sodium foods to look out for, but also 10 ways to help you on your journey to healthier eating habits. 

1. Cheese

We know you love cheese, but for your own health, it's a good idea to track your intake. Certain types of cheese, especially processed ones like American cheese, can be high in sodium. While cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, it's all in moderation - because of its sodium content, you can't just eat it as you please.

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2. Pickled Foods

It shouldn't come as a surprise that foods like pickles, olives, and other pickled vegetables, are soaked in a brine which is pretty high in sodium. While these pickled foods offer a delicious, tangy flavour that's distinct from everything else, eating these on the regular can significantly increase sodium intake. Impacting your cardiovascular health, you want to make sure you watch how much of these you eat.

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3. Canned Soups

When it comes to convenience, nothing beats canned soups which are ready at a moment's notice. Just be wary not to have them too often on a regular basis because they often contain high levels of sodium for preservation and flavour enhancement. You'd be shocked to learn just how much it can contribute to excessive sodium intake, potentially leading to hypertension. We don't want that now do we?

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4. Salted Snacks

If you're a big snacker, we've got some bad news for you. Some of your favourite snacks like chips, pretzels, and crackers, are all typically high in salt, making them a significant source of sodium. Regular consumption can add a substantial amount of sodium to your diet, which is a concern for blood pressure and heart health. So, just remember to keep an eye on how many snacks you eat because moderation is key here.

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5. Frozen Dinners

Although frozen meals are the epitome of convenience and fast food at home, they often contain incredibly high sodium levels to enhance both taste and shelf life. Once you know that, this makes them a much less desirable choice, especially for any of you monitoring your sodium intake for health reasons.

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6. Processed Meats

We know you're not going to like the sound of this one, but remember, it's for your own health! Processed meats such as sausages, bacon, and deli meats, are all high in sodium. These are often cured, seasoned, and preserved with salt, leading to their high sodium content which contributes to increased blood pressure and heart disease risk. It might be a challenge at first, but putting down that slice of bacon can make a big improvement.

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7. Instant Noodles

When you're looking for comfort in a midnight snack, instant noodles probably come to mind. Unfortunately, while they're a popular quick meal, they're loaded with sodium, primarily due to their flavouring packets. Once in a while is fine, but frequent consumption leads to excessive sodium intake which can really pose some serious health risks.

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8. Fast Food

You're probably noticing a trend here where fast, convenient food is simply not that healthy for us. This includes fast food items of course, like burgers, fries, and fried chicken, all foods which are typically high in sodium. Why? It's all in the cooking process and the seasonings they use, which sadly, makes them substantial contributors to our sodium intake.

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9. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, a common condiment frequently used in Asian cuisine, is unfortunately extremely high in sodium. Even the smallest amount can significantly increase the sodium content of a meal! Just keep this in mind the next time you cook with it, using only as much as you need, maybe even less. Soy sauce should be used sparingly when possible.

Goodeats-Yqr-Mcp48Ira7Mo-Unsplash (1)Photo by GoodEats YQR on Unsplash

10. Salted Butter and Margarine

Staple ingredients in any kitchen, butter and margarine often contain added salt for flavour. This added sodium can contribute to your overall daily sodium intake without you really realizing it, especially if it's being used generously. 

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1. Read Nutrition Labels

To help you cut back on your sodium levels, one way that can help is to consistently read nutrition labels when grocery shopping. Look for items with lower sodium content, especially if you're buying processed or packaged foods. This is a good habit to adopt that can help you make more informed choices about the foods you're consuming.

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2. Use Herbs and Spices for Flavoring

Instead of using loads of salt, try seasoning your dishes with a variety of herbs and spices instead. Fresh or dried herbs, garlic, onion, citrus zest, and spice blends can seriously enhance the flavour of your food, adding a depth and complexity without even using much salt. 

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3. Cook More Meals at Home

As always, cooking at home is the best method when it comes to improving your health. Preparing your own meals gives you complete control over the amount of sodium you use, allowing you to see exactly what goes into each dish. Homemade cooking also usually just contains less sodium than restaurant meals or prepackaged foods in general, making it the smarter lifestyle choice.

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4. Rinse Canned Vegetables and Beans

If you plan on using canned vegetables or beans, it's a good idea to rinse them under cold water before cooking. It's not just to clean them, but this can also help remove a significant portion of the added sodium used in preserving these foods. It's a simple thing to do, but can help out a lot!

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5. Choose Fresh or Frozen Produce

When possible, try to opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over canned versions, which often contain added salt. Although we just described rinsing canned veggies in water can help before cooking them, making this active decision can be a good one. Fresh and frozen produce is not only lower in sodium, but they also provide more nutrients, making it a win-win for sure!

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6. Gradually Reduce Salt in Cooking

If you typically use a lot of salt in your cooking, one helpful way to cut back is to start gradually reducing the amount of salt you add to your dishes. It'll be tough, but don't worry, your taste buds will adjust over time and your body will be thanking you. It's a simple but nice way to help you reduce your overall sodium count.

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7. Be Cautious with Condiments

You may be surprised to learn that many condiments, like ketchup, mustard, and salad dressings are all high in sodium. We're not saying don't use them, but when you do, be sparing with it. If you can, also look for low-sodium or "no added salt" versions.

Erik-Mclean-L9X4U45Venw-UnsplashPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

8. Avoid Salted Nuts and Seeds

Salted nuts and seeds can make a great snack especially if they fit your taste preference, but unfortunately for your health, it may be smart to change to unsalted versions. They offer the same nutritional benefits, just without the added sodium!

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9. Limit Processed and Fast Foods

This one goes without saying, but always try to reduce your intake of fast food and heavily processed items like frozen dinners and snack foods. These are large contributors of the amount of sodium you consume, so eating them less frequently is a massive way to decrease your sodium intake. Find new, healthier options for snacks and try incorporating meal prep into your life if speed and convenience are important factors in meals for you.

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10. Drink Plenty of Water

Last but not least, it's never a bad idea to drink plenty of water! Staying well-hydrated can help your body manage sodium levels more effectively. Drinking water throughout the day aids in flushing out excess sodium, maintaining a healthy balance that will keep your body feeling good. Water all day, every day!

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