TheBUZZ Canned foods are too high in sodium and should be avoided?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
With research linking high-sodium diets to high blood pressure and other heart conditions, canned vegetables have gotten a bad rap.
WHAT WE KNOW
The average American consumes four (4) times the recommended amount of sodium in his/her diet each day! Research is showing that this is a contributing factor in the development of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. With heart-healthy diets in the limelight, packaged foods, fast foods, salad dressings, soups, and canned foods—including vegetables—are getting a bad rap for being notoriously high in sodium.
Are you an avid table salt user? Did you know that one (1) teaspoon of salt meets your daily recommendation of 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1,500 mg for many individuals)? Contrary to common belief, a majority of the sodium from our diet comes from foods that are often overlooked—not canned vegetables!
For example, check out these sodium-filled toppings …
|Barbecue sauce, 2 tbsp|
Ketchup, 1 tbsp
Mayonnaise type dressing, 1 tbsp
Mustard, 1 tsp
Pickles, 4 slices, 1 oz
Pickle relish, 1 tbsp
Cheese, 1 slice
|Green Beans, ½ cup (drained)|
Crushed Canned Tomatoes, ½ cup
Beef Hotdog, 1 hotdog
Wheat Bread, 1 slice
Skim Milk, 1 cup
While it is important to choose low-sodium options as often as possible, making small changes (like not globbing on mustard or barbeque sauce) is an important way to minimize the amount of sodium in your diet.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition about processed foods being the major contributor to dietary salt intake found that “the food groups that were highest in sodium were sauces and spreads and processed meats. Cereal and cereal products and fruits and vegetables were the lowest.”¹
Despite popular belief, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that “all canned vegetables contribute less than one percent of sodium,” and fruits and fruit juices“ contribute less than two percent of added sugars in most Americans’ diets.”²
Several studies found the heating process of canned products to actually contribute more health-promoting antioxidants than their fresh counterparts. Read More
The most important thing is that you eat your fruits & veggies! Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in all forms—fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice—prepared healthfully! They all provide beneficial compounds that promote a healthy life.
The majority of fruits and vegetables are considered low-salt or salt-free foods but canned vegetables tend to be higher in sodium since salt is often used as a preservative. A simple solution is to wash and drain your vegetables with water before preparing them; this will decrease the sodium content by almost half! Certainly, however, many low-sodium varieties are available as well.
See a comprehensive list of the sodium content of foods and focus on filling half your plate with fruits & veggies to promote heart health and a low-sodium diet!
¹ Guthrie, J. and J. Morton, “Food Sources of Added Sweeteners in the Diets of Americans.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 100 (2000).
² Cotton, P. et al. “Dietary Sources of Nutrients Among US Adults.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 104 (2004).