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Hidden Salt: High Sodium in Foods

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Publication Number: IS1686
View as PDF: IS1686.pdf

One of the first steps to controlling high blood pressure is to reduce the extra sodium in your diet. Two grams (2,000 mg/milligrams; 2 g) or less each day is the usual recommendation for people who have high blood pressure.

Regularly eating high-sodium foods will often cause you to consume more than 2,000 mg per day, even if you don’t add extra salt. Use this list of common foods and products to see if too much sodium might be part of your high blood pressure problem. If so, ask a registered dietitian or your Extension agent to help you learn more about reading food labels and making substitutions for high-sodium foods.

Foods High in Sodium

  • Table salt (1 teaspoon provides about 2,000 mg of sodium)
  • Seasonings that contain salt (examples: celery salt, garlic salt, onion salt, season-all, “lite salt”)
  • Sauerkraut or other vegetables prepared in brine (pickled)
  • Regular canned soups
  • Breads and rolls with salted toppings
  • Potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, saltines, salty crackers, salted popcorn
  • Salty or smoked meats (examples: bacon, bologna, chipped or corned beef, frankfurters, ham, meats koshered by salting, luncheon meats, salt pork, sausage, smoked tongue, canned or pickled meats)
  • Salty or smoked fish (examples: anchovies, caviar, salted and dried cod, herring, sardines)
  • Processed cheese, cheese spreads, or high-sodium cheeses like Roquefort, Camembert, Gorgonzola, and Parmesan
  • Salted nuts, olives, bacon, bacon fat
  • Regular peanut butter
  • Bouillon, ketchup, chili sauces, meat extracts, meat sauces, meat tenderizers, monosodium glutamate, prepared mustard, relishes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce
  • Antacids containing sodium (example: Alka-Seltzer)
  • Toothpastes containing baking soda
  • Fast foods and prepackaged foods
  • Canned or frozen entrees (many times they lower the fat and increase the salt)

The information given here is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products, trade names, or suppliers are made with the understanding that no endorsement is implied and that no discrimination against other products or suppliers is intended.

Information Sheet 1686 

Distributed in Mississippi by David Buys, PhD, MSPH, CPH, Assistant Professor and State Health Specialist, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion.

Copyright 2020 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion
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