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Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Avoid Salt in Your Diet

High Sodium Foods & How to Avoid Salt in Your Diet

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If you eat too much salt or sodium in your diet, then you may develop some health conditions. You should know what are high sodium foods and how to avoid salt in your diet.

High Sodium Intake & Health Conditions

The sodium level in our body is mainly regulated by our kidneys. Too much sodium can cause many health conditions as given below.
  1. high blood pressure. "Of the estimated one billion people living with hypertension, about 30% can attribute it to excess salt intake," says Dr. Ken Flegel and Dr. Peter Magner.
  2. Heart failure
  3. Kidney problems and kidney stones
  4. Stroke
  5. Gastric cancer
  6. Oedema
  7. Left ventricular hypertrophy
  8. Osteoporosis: A high level of salt intake increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. This may lead to osteoporosis.
Muscle cramps do not need salt but water. Muscle cramps are due to lack of adequate amount of water or dehydration in your body.
A reduction in salt consumption even by 1g in diet daily may help decrease the incidences of death, say University of California-San Francisco researchers at the American Heart Association's 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. The researchers say that a 3g a day reduction in salt intake could result in 6% fewer cases of new heart disease, 8% fewer heart attacks, and 3% fewer deaths in US.

High Sodium Foods

Many foods naturally contain only traces of sodium, while processed foods contain a lot of salt. Foods with a high sodium content (more than 900mg/serving) include:
  1. Most fast foods and take away foods, such as pizza and cheeseburger.
  2. Most snack foods, such as potato chips, pretzels and corn chips.
  3. Processed meats, such as sausages (900-1000mg sodium/100g), bacon (about 2000mg sodium/100g , ham, salami, hot dog, smoked salmon, corned meats (1000-1600mg sodium/100g), and luncheon meats. Note that most fresh meats are low in sodium, 60-90mg sodium/100g.
  4. Canned vegetables and canned vegetable juice
  5. Dehydrated or packet foods, such as instant pasta or soups
  6. Soups, sauces and condiments such as soy sauce and tomato sauce, ketchup and most processed tomato products.

    Soups are one of the worst culprits for hidden salt. People who regularly eat soup could be raising their risk of stomach cancer, warns Dr Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
  7. Cracker biscuits, breads and breakfast cereals. Two slices of most breads have 250 to 480mg sodium. An average serving of breakfast cereal can have up to 500mg of sodium. Look for low sodium variety of breads and cereals. In India, some salt is added to the flour when making the dough for rotis or chapattis. This adds extra salt to your body and can be avoided.
  8. Salted nuts are high in salt but if you rub the nuts with fingers, then most of the salt falls off.
  9. Salted butter, margarine and mayonnaise. Salted butter and margarine have about 140mg in one tablespoon.

  10. A bowl of cornflakes has about the same amount of salt as a small packet of plain chips.

How to reduce the sodium intake in diet?

How do you know if you are getting too much sodium?
"If you eat fast food even once a week, you are probably eating 2 to 3 times as much salt as you need," says Jill Minette, R.D., assistant director of clinical nutrition at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
  1. Check nutritional information on  food labels before you buy a product. Look for the amount of salt (sodium, Na), monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda or soda (sodium bicarbonate), baking powder, sodium benzoate, sodium sulfite, sodium nitrite, etc. present in the product. Understand the meaning of the label:

    Low sodium/salt: Less than 120mg sodium/100g of food or not more than half the sodium content of the regular food (whichever is less).
    Reduced sodium/salt: Up to 75% of the sodium content of the regular food.
    Lightly salted: At least 90mg sodium/100g of food less than regular food and less than 600mg of sodium/100g.
  2. Do not keep saltshaker on the dining table.
  3. Choose fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than salty snack foods.
  4. Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts or of reduced salt variety. There are many products available with reduced levels of salt or with no added salt.
  5. Select unsalted nuts or seeds.
  6. Eat less salty foods like chips, pretzels, crisps, salted nuts, salty cheeses, soy sauce, pickles, Bikaneri bhujia, ham, bacon, chicken broth, processed meat and fish.
  7. Buy fresh, (plain) frozen or canned vegetables without added salt. Rinse canned vegetables to eliminate some of the added salt.
  8. Select unsalted, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
  9. Select fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese with low sodium.
  10. Add spices, herb, garlic and lemon juice in cooking instead of salt to enhance the taste and flavor of your food. Use only half the amount of salt recommended in a recipe.
  11. Reduce eating pickles, they are high in salt.
  12. Buy ready to eat meals with reduced salt. Do not buy packaged foods that contain less than 120mg of sodium per serving.
  13. Avoid using sauces, such as mayonnaise and ketchup, as these are often high in salt.
  14. Choose fresh or frozen fish, shellfish, poultry and meat most often. They are lower in salt than most canned and processed options.
  15. Some drugs contain high amounts of sodium. Look for it.

Salt Content of Common Food Items

Look at the table below. You will notice that fast foods contain high amount of sodium and salt, while vegetables and fruits are very low in salt content.

Sodium Content of Common Foods
Sodium Content of Eggs
Egg, hard-boiled501 large62
Egg, fresh441 medium55
Egg, fresh1 small47
Egg, fresh501 large63
Egg, white1 large55
Egg, yolk1 large12
Egg substitute, liquid62.751/4 cup111
Sodium Content of Butter, Cheese & Cream
Butter with salt14.21 Tbsp117
Butter without salt14.21 Tbsp2
Peanut butter, chunk with salt161 Tbsp78
Peanut butter, smooth with salt161 Tbsp75
Margarine with salt added14.11 Tbsp133
Cheddar Cheese28.351 oz176
Cheddar Cheese, low fat28.351 oz174
Cottage Cheese,1% milk fat2261 cup918
Feta Cheese28.351 oz316
Mozzarella Cheese28.351 oz150
Parmesan Cheese51 Tbsp93
Ricotta Cheese2461 cup308
Swiss Cheese28.351 oz74
Cream14.51 Tbsp43
Sour Cream121 Tbsp6
Whipped Cream31 Tbsp4
Sodium Content in Fish and Shellfish & Seafood
Catfish, raw853 oz51
Clam, raw853 oz48
Cod, Atlantic, canned853 oz185
Crab, Alaska king853 oz715
Lobster, northern, cooked853 oz323
Lobster, raw, uncooked853 oz179
Haddock, cooked853 oz74
Oyster, eastern, raw846 medium177
Salmon, canned853 oz471
Salmon, sockeye, cooked853 oz56
Sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil85.053 oz430
Shrimp, canned85.053 oz144
Swordfish, raw853 oz46
Trout, brook, raw853 oz40
Trout, rainbow, raw853 oz69
Tuna, albacore, raw853 oz34
Tuna, white, canned in water853 oz320
Tuna, yellowfin, raw3 oz31
Meat & Poultry
Beef stew, canned2321 cup947
Beef, cured, dried beef28.351 oz984
Beef, ground, extra lean,broiled853 oz60
Bologna, beef and pork56.72 slices578
Chicken pot pie, frozen2171 small pie857
Chicken breast, meat only, roasted861/2 breast64
Chicken drumstick, meat only, roasted441 drumstick42
Chicken, broilers or fryers, wing, meat and skin, cooked, fried, batter491 wing157
Frankfurter, beef451 frank462
Frankfurter, chicken451 frank617
Ham, sliced, extra lean56.72 slices810
Lamb, loin, separable lean only, cooked, broiled853 oz71
Pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce2521 cup1,053
Pork sausage, fresh, cooked262 links336
Pork sausage, fresh, cooked271 patty349
Pork, fresh, leg (ham), whole, separable lean only, roasted853 oz54
Pork, fresh, loin, center loin (chops), cooked, broiled853 oz51
Salami, cooked, beef and pork56.72 slices604
Sandwiches, cheeseburger, large, single meat patty, with bacon and
1951 sandwich1,043
Cheeseburger, regular, single meat patty, plain1021 sandwich500
Hamburger, single meat patty vegetables2181 sandwich824
Turkey, roasted843 oz66
Sodium Content of Fast foods, Sandwich, Burgers, Pizza
Burrito with beans and meat115.51 burrito668
Cheeseburger, single meat patty1021 sandwich500
Cheeseburger, large, single patty, with vegetables2191 sandwich1,108
Cheeseburger, single meat patty with bacon1951sandwich1,043
Cheeseburger, regular, double patty, plain1551 sandwich636
Hamburger, large, single meat patty2181 sandwich824
Submarine sandwich with roast beef2161 sandwich, 6" roll845
Fish sandwich, with sauce and cheese1831 sandwich939
Roast beef sandwich, plain1391 sandwich792
Chicken fillet sandwich, plain1821 sandwich957
Chicken, breaded and fried, boneless pieces1066 pieces513
Croissant, with egg, cheese, bacon1291 croissant889
English muffin, with egg, cheese, bacon1371 muffin729
Hot dog981 sandwich670
Nachos with cheese1136-8 nachos816
Pancake with butter and syrup2322 pancakes1,104
Pizza with cheese, meat and vegetables791 slice382
French fries851 small168
French fries1691 large335
Taco salad1981-1/2 cups762
Breads & Cereals
Bagels, plain713-1/2" bagel379
Bread, whole-wheat281 slice148
Bread, whole-gran, 7 grains261 slice127
Bread, oatmeal271 slice162
Bread, rye321 slice211
Bread, rye, toasted241 slice174
Cereals Cheerios301 cup284
Corn flakes Kelloggs281 cup298
Kellogg's Special K cereal311 cup250
Kellogg's Nutri-grain cereal bar371 bar110
Wheat germ, toasted7.11 Tbsp0
Wheat crackers84 crackers64
Whole-wheat crackers164 crackers105
Croissants, butter571 croissant424
English muffins, toasted521 muffin262
Muffins, oat bran571 muffin224
Pasta & Noodles
Noodles, chow mien451 cup198
Noodles, egg, cooked1601 cup11
Spaghetti, cooked, without added salt1401 cup1
Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked1401 cup4
Pasta with meatballs in tomato sauce2521 cup1,053
Rice, brown, cooked1951 cup10
Rice, white, long-grain, raw1851 cup9
Corn chips, barbecue-flavor28.351 oz216
Potato chips, barbecue-flavor28.351 oz213
Potato chips, plain, salted28.351 oz168
Potato chips, plain, unsalted28.351 oz2
Pretzels, hard, plain, salted6010 pretzels1,029
Tortilla chips28.351 oz150
Tortillas, ready-to-bake, corn261 tortilla42
Tortillas, ready-to-bake, flour321 tortilla153
Taco shells, baked13.31 medium49
Legumes & Lentils
Beans, baked, canned2541 cup1,008
Beans, baked, canned, with pork and tomato sauce2531 cup1,113
Kidney beans, canned2561 cup873
Navy beans, boiled, without salt1821 cup2
Chickpeas (Chole, Garbanzo beans, Bengal gram), canned2401 cup718
Chickpeas cooked, without salt1641 cup11
Lentils, cooked, without salt1981 cup4
Sodium in Nuts and Seeds
Almonds28.351 oz0
Cashew nuts, roasted and salted28.351 oz181
Mixed nuts, roasted andsalted28.351 oz190
Peanuts, roasted and salted28.351 oz230
Pecans28.351 oz0
Walnuts28.351 oz1
Pumpkin and squash seeds, roasted and salted28.351 oz (142 seeds)163
Sunflower seeds, roasted and salted321/4 cup250
Soups & Sauces
Barbecue sauce15.751 Tbsp128
Cheese sauce,631/4 cup522
Pasta sauce2501 cup1,030
Salsa sauce161 Tbsp69
Tomato sauce2451 cup1,482
Soy sauce161 Tbsp914
Tomato paste, without salt added2621 cup231
Cream of mushroom soup, canned2481 cup918
Onion soup, dehydrated391 packet3,493
Tomato soup, canned2441 cup695
Vegetable soup, canned2411 cup822
Gravy, beef, canned58.251/4 cup326
Gravy, turkey, canned59.61/4 cup344
Cake, prepared by dry mix,501 piece255
Cake, pound, fat-free281 slice95
Danish pastry, cheese711 Danish320
Puddings, vanilla1134 oz153
Doughnuts, plain471 medium257
Pie, apple1551 piece327
Pie, blueberry1471 piece272
Pie, cherry1801 piece344
Pie, pumpkin1551 piece349
Sugars, granulated4.21 tspn0
Sodium Content of Vegetables
Asparagus, boiled604 spears7
Beans,boiled1251 cup4
Beet greens, boiled1441 cup347
Beets, boiled1701 cup131
Broccoli, raw881 cup24
Brussels sprouts, frozen, boiled1551 cup36
Cabbage, raw701 cup13
Carrots, raw1101 cup39
Cauliflower, raw1001 cup30
Celery, raw1201 cup104
Sweet Corn, boiled771 ear13
Cucumber, raw1041 cup2
Eggplant, boiled991 cup3
Lettuce, iceberg, raw551 cup5
Lettuce, raw561 cup5
Lima beans, canned2411 cup810
Mushrooms, raw701 cup3
Onions, raw1601 cup5
Onions, spring, raw151 whole2
Peas, green, canned1701 cup428
Peas, green, frozen, boiled1601 cup139
Peppers, green, raw1491 cup3
Potatoes, baked1561 potato8
Potatoes, boiled1561 cup8
French fries, frozen, without salt5010 strips15
Radishes, raw4.51 radish1
Spinach, canned2141 cup58
Spinach, raw301 cup24
Squash, summer, raw1131 cup2
Squash, winter, baked2051 cup2
Sweet potato, cooked1051 piece74
Tomatoes, red1801 cup16
Tomatoes, sun-dried21 piece42
Turnip greens, boiled, without salt1441 cup42
Turnips, boiled, without salt1561 cup78
Vegetables, mixed, canned1631 cup243
Sauerkraut, canned2361 cup1,560
Sodium Content in Fruits
Apples1381 apples0
Avocado, California28.351 oz3
Banana11811 banana
Blueberries, fresh1451 cup9
Blueberries, frozen, sweetened2301 cup2
Cherries in syrup6810 cherries0
Figs1 medium1
Grapes, red or green, seedless5010 grapes3
Kiwi fruit1 medium4
Cantaloupe melon691/8 melon6
Guavas, fresh12
Honeydew melon1701 cup17
Kiwi fruit13
Lemon, fresh11
Lime, fresh11
Litchi, fresh11
Nectarines1361 nectarine0
Olives, canned225 large192
Oranges1311 orange0
Passion fruit15
Papayas1401 cup4
Peaches, fresh981 peach0
Peaches, canned2481 cup10
Pears1661 pear0
Pineapple, canned2491 cup2
Pineapple1551 cup2
Plums661 plum0
Pomegranates, fresh1 medium5
Quince, fresh1 medium4
Prunes, dried425 prunes2
Pumpkin, boiled without salt2451 cup2
Raisins1451 cup17
Raspberries, fresh1231 cup0
Raspberries, frozen, sweetened2501 cup3
Strawberries, fresh1661 cup2
Strawberries, frozen, sweetened2551 cup8
Tomatoes, fresh14
Watermelon1521 cup3
Sodium in Juice & Beverages
Beer, regular35512 fl oz18
Wine, red1033.5 fl oz5
Club soda35512 fl oz75
Apple juice, unsweetened2481 cup7
Grapefruit juice, canned, sweetened2501 cup5
Grapefruit juice2471 cup2
Lemon juice, fresh471 lemon0
Lemon juice, bottled15.21 Tbsp3
Orange juice2481 cup2
Tomato juice, canned with salt added2431 cup877
Vegetable juice cocktail, canned2421 cup653
Sodium Contnet of Milk & Ice Cream
Condensed milk, sweetened3061 cup389
Evaporated milk, non-fat2561 cup294
Chocolate milk, low-fat2501 cup153
Milk shake, vanilla31311 fl oz297
Soy milk2451 cup29
Ice cream, vanilla661/2 cup53
Sodium Content in Oils & Fats
Canola oil141 Tbsp0
Corn oil13.61 Tbsp0
Olive oil13.51 Tbsp0
Soybean oil13.61 Tbsp0
Sunflower oil13.61 Tbsp0
Salt in Miscellaneous Food items
Yeast, baker's, dry71 pkg4
Mustard, prepared, yellow51 tspn or 1 packet56
Pickles, cucumber, dill651 pickle833
Salt, table61 tspn2,325
Baking powder, sodium aluminum sulfate4.61 tspn488
Baking powder, straight phosphate4.61 tspn363
Baking soda4.61 tspn1,259
Cider vinegar151 Tbsp0
Popcorn, air-popped81 cup0
Popcorn, oil-popped111 cup97
Tofu, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride811/4 block6
Tofu, soft, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride1201 piece10
Water, tap2378 fl oz7
Wheat flour, self-raising1251 cup1,588

Daily Salt Intake Recommendation

Interesting facts on Sodium: Sodium intake per day in daily diet

Salt is Sodium Chloride (NaCl), a compound of sodium and chlorine. Our body needs some sodium to regulate the balance of fluid in and around each cell. Common table salt contains about 40% sodium by weight. Food labels list the sodium content of food rather than the salt content. Health authorities also recommend the safe level of sodium in diet rather than that of salt.
There is no sodium intake recommended or Recommended Daily Allowance for sodium or salt. However, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend 2300mg of sodium daily for adults. This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt). However, most people take more than the recommended amount a day in diet, almost double the value.
So how much sodium is in a teaspoon of salt?
It depends on the type of salt. Roughly, about 6g of salt makes one teaspoonful and approximately 2.4g sodium.
1 teaspoon salt = 6,200mg (6.2g) sodium chloride
                          = 2,400mg (2.4g) sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000mg sodium
Note that the salt crystals and sea salt contain the same amount of sodium.

Salt or Sodium intake for babies and children?

The adults do not need more than 1 tsp of salt. Babies and children need a very small amount of salt as given below: 
Age of Child/Baby : Daily salt (sodium)
0-12 month* : 1g (400mg sodium) or 1/6 tsp salt
1-3 year : 2g (0.8g sodium) or 1/3 tsp salt
4-6 year : 3g (1.2g sodium) or 1/2 tsp salt
7-10 year : 5g (2.0 g sodium) or 5/6 tsp salt
Above 11 year : 6g (2.4g sodium) or 1 tsp salt
* Breastfed babies get the right amount of salt through breast milk.
Infant Formula milk contains a right amount of salt.

List of Low Sodium Foods

Fresh foods contain a small amount of sodium and can meet the body's requirement of sodium for most people. You should always buy low salt (less than 120mg/100g) or salt-free options of commonly used foods, if available.
  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables
  2. Milk, yogurt (yoghurt)
  3. Cooking oils
  4. Cereals such as rice, pasta, rolled oats, couscous and other grains have very low sodium content.
  5. Cottage, Ricotta, mozzarella and Swiss cheeses are lower in salt than other cheeses.
  6. Most fresh meats are low in sodium, 60-90mg sodium/100g. It is the cooking method that makes meat saslty.

Low sodium diet and health conditions

The body loses salt through urine, perspiration, diarrhea and vomiting. If too much salt is lost, the level of fluid in the blood will drop. If the sodium in our blood falls below the normal range, it can be dangerous if not treated. Low sodium levels or sodium deficiency in the body can lead to muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Lack of salt for a long period of time can lead to shock, coma and death.
Your doctor may recommend you a low salt diet if you have high blood pressure or other condition. Maintaining a sodium intake below 2000 mg/day requires considerable effort because majority of foods available in supermarkets and restaurants are salted.

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