When it comes to healthy eating, calories and fat get all the attention. But if you really want to revamp your diet, you need to watch the salt.

Experts say that our bodies only need about 500 milligrams of sodium a day to maintain the right balance of fluids, move muscles, and transmit nerve impulses. But too much salt raises blood pressure, weakens bones, and even increases our risk of cancer. Unfortunately, most of us ingest 6 times the salt our bodies require. But don’t blame your saltshaker! Most of the salt we get is already in the foods we eat. Here’s a list of the biggest sources:

  • Pizza. Because of the combo of cheese, tomato sauce, and bread dough, the average slice of pizza has more salt than 2 large orders of French fries.
  • Soup. Some canned chicken noodle soups have 940 milligrams of sodium per cup. Or about the same as 8 slices of bacon!
  • A ham-and-cheese sandwich. Let’s deconstruct it from your blood pressure’s point of view: The bread alone provides all the sodium you need in one day. Deli meat can contain over a thousand milligrams of sodium per serving. That's the salty equivalent of eating two giant soft pretzels. And a couple slices of cheese do as much damage as a whole bag of potato chips. And by the time you add ketchup, mustard, mayo, or pickles, your sandwich is a heart-stopping 4,000-milligram salt time bomb – which is the equivalent of drinking almost a cup of seawater!

Lesson Expert

Mike Christian

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