Many people think that if they don't use their salt shaker very much, they're doing a good job of controlling their sodium intake. Most of the sodium we consume, however, is actually already in food before we get it. In fact, even foods considered to be healthy may have more salt than you think - including these five:
Some brands of raisin bran have up to 250 milligrams of sodium per cup, and one cup of cornflakes can contain 200 milligrams of sodium. Many people routinely eat more than one cup at a time.
To reduce salt: Try puffed wheat or rice cereal, which don't contain salt.
Canned beans are a great source of fiber, folate, iron and protein. However, they can have as much as 500 milligrams of salt per half-cup serving.
To reduce salt: Choose dried beans, which are usually lower in sodium. They can be quick-soaked instead of soaking overnight, or some people even advocate skipping the soak entirely. If you use canned beans, draining and rinsing them thoroughly can remove a significant amount of sodium.
Canned veggies are convenient, but they also usually have a lot of sodium. Cream-style corn, for example, can have 400 milligrams of sodium in just a half a cup.
To reduce salt: Eat fresh or frozen vegetables when possible, and if you're using canned, look for "no salt added" versions.
Raw chicken is often injected with a saltwater solution during processing. Without this injection, four ounces of raw chicken breast contain about 50 to 75 milligrams of sodium. With it, the same serving can have as much as 400 milligrams of sodium.
To reduce salt: Check the label for the milligrams of sodium per serving. Also look for fine print on the label that may say "contains up to 15 percent chicken broth."
Salt adds flavor to bread and also helps ferment the yeast. Whole-grain breads are a good source of fiber, but they often contain about 200 milligrams of sodium per slice. This adds up quickly if you're eating a sandwich or two for lunch.
To reduce salt: Look for brands labeled "low sodium," and check nutrition labels for salt content that's on the low end of the scale.