The 'salty six' foods to watch out for

We all hear that too much salt is bad for us, but Itâ??s not always the potato chipsâ?? or the salt shakerâ??s fault. Dr. Justin Puckett from Complete Family Medicine stopped by the set of Good Morning Heartland Monday morning to share with us the â??salty sixâ?? hidden places we encounter salt in our diet.

Question: First, why should we watch our salt intake?

Answer: Before we pick on sodium, letâ??s look at the good things it does. Sodium plays an important role in the body. It's essential for fluid balance, muscle strength, and nerve function. Eating too much salt contributes to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also affect a personâ??s physical appearance, causing puffiness, swelling, and bags under the eyes.

Question: How much salt should we get in a day?

Answer: Most of us get too much. U.S. guidelines call for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day -- about 1 teaspoon of table salt. And half of Americans should drop to 1,500 milligrams a day. Surprisingly, most of our salt intake is hidden in the foods we buy at the grocery store or get when eating out

Question: So tell us about the â??salty sixâ??

Answer: Experts say more than 75% of peopleâ??s salt comes from eating processed or restaurant foods.

1. Bread and rolls - One piece of bread can have as much as 230 mg of sodium. Thatâ??s 15% of the recommended daily amount. Although each serving may not sound like much, it can quickly add up throughout the day, with toast at breakfast, a sandwich at lunch, and a roll at dinner, etc.

2. Cold cuts and cured meats - Deli or pre-packaged turkey can have as much as 1,050 mg of sodium. Itâ??s added to most cooked and processed meats to reduce spoilage.

3. Pizza - One slice can have up to 760 mg of sodium. That means two slices accounts for a dayâ??s worth of salt.

4. Poultry - Packaged raw chicken often contains an added salt solution. Depending on how itâ??s prepared the sodium level can quickly add up. Just 3 ounces of frozen and breaded chicken nuggets contains about 600 mg of sodium.

5. Soup - This cold-weather staple can contain a dayâ??s worth of sodium in a single bowl. One cup of canned chicken soup can have up to 940 mg of sodium.

6. Sandwiches - Breads and cured meats are already high in salt, and putting them together with salty condiments like ketchup and mustard can add up to more than 1,500 mg of sodium in a single sandwich.

What are some tips to avoid salt overload?

Answer: Keep the â??salty sixâ?? in mind when grocery shopping or ordering from a menu. Try having half a sandwich with a side salad rather than a whole sandwich, or limiting the cheese and adding extra veggies to pizzas.

Look for sodium levels in the nutrition facts label when grocery shopping, and calorie labeling information in restaurants.

Keep in mind that packaged foods like canned soup often contain more than one serving. Nutrition information like sodium content is based only one serving, so adjust accordingly.

Look for heart-healthy foods approved by the AHA labeled with a red heart and white checkmark.

Adjust to sodium free or low sodium alternatives

Do yourself an audit of your Sodium Intake

Justin D. Puckett, DO

Family Medicine and OMT

Obesity Medicine

Dual Board Certified

Complete Family Medicine

1611 South Baltimore St.

PO Box 295

Kirksville MO 63501