Where Our Salt Comes From: Top 10 Foods

The Centers for Disease Control has come out with a list of the top 10 “salt culprits” in our diet.  You might be surprised to learn that the number one food source is bread!

Even I went “Hunh” … I wasn’t expecting that … Here’s the list of the top ten salty foods:

  1. bread and dinner rolls
  2. cold cuts and cured meat
  3. pizza
  4. poultry
  5. soups
  6. sandwiches
  7. cheese
  8. pasta dishes
  9. meat dishes
  10. snacks like potato chips and pretzels

The CDC also said the average American consumes 3,266 milligrams of salt daily and that’s before we pick up the salt shakers on the dinner table.  Our goal should be no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and, if you are over 51, or have high blood pressure or diabetes, it should be no more than 1,500 milligrams.

One in three adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, which can lead to issues like heart disease and stroke.  We really should be paying attention here.  So how do we cut down on salt intake?  Easy …

Limit starches to no more than four servings a day. You don’t need the starch anyway; it has relatively few nutrients, but you knew that already.

Increase fruits and veggies. Sub out starches for something healthier; produce has zero salt, lots of vitamins and minerals, and is quite tasty.

Ditch the salt shaker. My parents took the salt shaker off the table in the 1970s and I’ve never looked back.  Salt is an integral part of cooking and taste, but you don’t need to add a lot to get good flavor and you don’t need it on the table.

Cook from scratch. You will always add less sugar, fat, and salt to a recipe than a commercial food manufacturer will. They doctor up ingredients with palate-pumping substances so we don’t realize we’re eating crap.  The more you cook from scratch, the healthier your diet will be overall.

Start reading labels. Salt sneaks up on you; it’s in all kinds of things you wouldn’t think of, from pasta sauce to ice cream. Read the labels to make sure you’re within safe limits for you.

Consider these easy changes and live a better life.  Do you check your salt intake?  Do you read labels but glance over the salt?  What’s your favorite salty treat?