Cut sodium to help your heart

Dietitian warns of some of the biggest food offenders

Published On: Feb 07 2014 09:43:24 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 07 2014 05:00:00 PM EST

A high-sodium diet can contribute to the development of high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Identifying sodium-filled foods in your diet can help keep your intake near the recommended daily allowance.

Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, says a lot of people think cheese is the biggest source of sodium, when it's actually bread products.

"Bread products does not just include bread and I think that's a common misconception, but it would include anything in the form of a bread. So, a waffle, a pancake, a pastry, a bagel, a croissant, a piece of bread, a tortilla, a wrap," said Zumpano.

Zumpano says a lot of the bread products we eat are packed with sodium to increase their shelf-life and that you can even lump things like pita chips or crackers into the same category.

Cheese is a big source of sodium, particularly processed cheeses like American slices or cheese in a product like cheezy crackers.  Canned goods are also loaded with sodium, so be sure to check the label and Zumpano says to steer clear of "convenience foods."

"That's where we get the box dinners, the frozen meals that are already prepared, some of those rice or potato or pasta mixes where everything is included," she warned.

Zumpano says restaurant food is also typically high in sodium.  She says the average person shouldn't consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.