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Sodium in Foods–Part 1–Bread and Flour

Posted Feb 13 2012 11:00am

salt shakers Sodium in Foods  Part 1  Bread and Flour Perhaps you heard by the recent report that details the salt intake of Americans, along with its sources. On top of the list was bread and flour. This is not a huge surprise considering that grain-based foods are the number one food consumed by Americans age two and older.

I don’t know about you, but bread doesn’t jump out at me as a source for sodium. So, I decided to do a little checking. According to the report, breads and flour makes up about six to 10 percent of the average sodium intake. The next closest is cured meats, at around five percent. Let’s consider some figures.

Store-bought white bread: 130 mg per slice
Whole wheat bread: 146 mg per slice
Hamburger bun: 142 mg per serving

Each of these items is roughly 10 percent of the recommended adequate intake level of 1,500 mg. However, as the CDC report states, the average consumption for Americans is about 3,266 mg. The vast majority of the sodium comes from processed foods, like bread.

The problem with bread is that you don’t usually see low sodium breads, so it’s hard to make the healthier choice. You should take a moment to check different brands. Wonder Bread, for example, has 100 mg per slice. Brownberry Country White bread has 260 mg. It pays to do some label checking at the grocery store and perhaps, switch brands.

Sodium intake directly impacts your risk for high blood pressure or hypertension. Therein lies the concern. Your body spends a lot of energy maintaining its chemical balance. Eating foods high in sodium throws it off, causing it to retain more water. The result is a larger blood volume and in turn, more work for your heart.

The lesson is that you need to stay informed. It’s the only way to make the best choices when it comes to your health. You can’t eliminate sodium from your diet, but you can certainly find ways to limit your intake and get closer to the recommended consumption.


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