Everyone sprinkles a little salt on food from time to time, but for most Americans the saltshaker isn’t to blame for consuming too much sodium.
Prepackaged and restaurant food is where 77 percent of the average American’s sodium intake comes from, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Another 12 percent is naturally present in foods, and the rest comes from that extra dash of salt.
With plenty of processed and ready-made food at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that 90 percent of Americans get more than their recommended daily share of sodium, consuming an average of about 3,300 milligrams a day. That’s 1,000 milligrams over the suggested limit.
Eating foods that are high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which affects approximately one in three adults in America. If it’s left unregulated, the chances of heart disease—the leading cause of death in the U.S.—can increase with age.
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Because salt is commonly used as a food preservative, checking the sodium content on nutrition labels is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. The FDA’s recommendation for percentage of sodium intake is listed under the recommended daily value column on nutrition labels—5 percent or less is considered low; 20 percent per serving is considered high.
As we celebrate World Food Day, here’s a look at 10 foods whose sodium content may surprise you.