One of the most common phrases I get when seeing clients is “I actually eat very well.”
Here’s a newsflash: everyone thinks they eat well. But what eating well means to some people is drastically different to others. Some think eating well means that they don’t eat very much each day- a couple small snacks and then just one big meal. Others think eating well means that they took the bun off their burger before eating it.
Although I could dive into all of these ‘eating well’ ideas, and I most likely will at some point, today I want to focus on one of my favorites:
“I eat very well and can’t figure out why I have high blood pressure. I never salt my food.”
Now, obviously high blood pressure can be caused by more than eating a lot of salt (genetics, stress, lack of exercise, etc), but everyone knows one of the first things a doctor will tell you is to cut down on your sodium intake. To many, this means no sprinkling salt on eggs or vegetables.
And people usually do stop salting their food, but they usually overlook or are unaware of how much salt the foods they eat contain. Keep in mind that most experts recommend you keep sodium below 2300mg per day.
Most of us know these usual suspects: frozen meals, soups, canned vegetables, etc, but here are some other surprisingly salty foods to keep an eye on:
a 1/2 cup serving contains 360mg
1 Tbsp contains 190mg.
And when is the last time you just used 1 Tbsp?
PREGO HEART SMART TRADITIONAL ITALIAN SAUCE
1/2 cup contains 430mg
And yes, it says heart smart on it. Surprising, no?
BOARS HEAD SALSALITO TURKEY
only 2oz contains 480mg of sodium
KELLOGG’S RAISIN BRAN
1 cup contains 350 mg
Raisin Bran has more than double the sodium of Cheerios and Special K
It’s not that any of these foods should be labeled “bad”, but it is important to be aware of what is in the food you’re eating, even when it is marketed as ‘heart healthy’.
The easiest way to avoid excess sodium is to up your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, unsalted nuts and dried beans and lentils. Make things at home instead of eating out and you’ll also save yourself a lot of unnecessary sodium bloat.
What is your favorite sodium-cutting advice?