Concerned about having high blood pressure? Before you throw your saltshaker away, place it back on the table and think about this fact: Over 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from prepackaged, processed and restaurant foods.
So, those crystals that you put on your corn on the cob really are not the problem. It is all that sodium that is added to the food before you get the opportunity to say, “no thanks.” You cannot take out the sodium that is already added. The best thing you could do if you want to avoid developing high blood pressure—a risk factor for stroke and heart attack—is to stay away from the saltiest foods in the restaurant and supermarket. Here are the three worst foods that you should avoid.
1 — Breads and rolls
These culprits can be stealthy. Look at the nutrition label on a loaf of your favorite bread. You will see it has about 100 to 200 mg of sodium in it, which is not a ton. (To put things in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends capping your sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day, but ideally, you should have a goal of capping it at 1,500 mg each day—especially if you struggle with high blood pressure.) So why do rolls and bread make the beware list?
“In the society that we live in, we consume a lot of bread,” says Kim Rose, RDN. “You have breakfast pastries, bagels, dinner rolls, slices of bread—it can all add up.” And, of course, there are always overachievers within the sodium dept. Check out the corn muffins from Cracker Barrel. Each of them have 510 mg of sodium. That is nearly a quarter of the suggested 2,300 mg daily limit!
2 — Pizza
Unfortunately, pizza is the saltiest of all six. But are you really surprised? Bread, tomato sauce, cheese, all contain large amounts of sodium. But things start getting super salty when all the extra toppings start getting added like extra cheese, canned mushrooms, pepperoni and artichokes, and so on,” said Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN.
3 — Sandwiches (and other fast food)
Most fast-food hamburgers, sub sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and even the veggie wraps contain a lot of the high blood pressure-boosting salts. In fact, it is safe to say that whenever you eat out at a restaurant, even when you are fine dining, you’re likely to consume an unhealthy amount of sodium. That is why you should try to “make more of your meals at home,” recommends Ilana Muhlstein, RDN, “A lot of the salt that’s in our diets usually come from restaurant foods,” she said.
A fast search of a few of your favorite restaurant foods will make that pretty clear. For example, the checking pot pie from the Boston’s Market has 1,780 mg of sodium.