Salt and stroke make a deadly duo as excessive salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, a precursor to stroke. In fact, this study shows that for every 500 mg increase of sodium per day, your risk of ischemic stroke increases by 18%! That’s a staggering statistic, so we need to pay extra attention to what we put into our bodies. But in the morning, it’s hard to pay attention to anything, so we put together this list of 5 unsuspectingly salty breakfast foods for you to we wary of. But first, let’s cover the basics.
How much salt is okay?
The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium a day while the USDA says that 2,300 mg is okay unless you have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. If that’s the case, then the USDA says that you should have 1,500 mg or less a day. But we challenge you to always shoot for 1,500 mg!
Common Foods to Avoid
Here is a quick list of common foods that usually contain excessive salt:
- Restaurant food
- Deli meat
- Canned soup
- Canned anything
But here are some surprisingly salty breakfast items that will make you think twice tomorrow morning.
Black coffee is good. It contains antioxidants that can help fight disease and reduse your risk of type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and liver cancer. Sounds great right? Well, just beware of flavored coffee drinks because they’re a whole different story. A 16oz blended coffee drink from Starbucks contains 240 mg of salt… That’s just unnecessary.
Make the swap: Ditch the sweetened coffee drinks for some regular black coffee with stevia.
The most elusive of them all: cereal. A good rule of thumb is that sweetened cereals are usually hiding extra salt. For example, one cup of Grape Nuts has 540 mg of sodium! That’s more than 33% of your daily allowance! And don’t forget that for every 500 mg increase of sodium per day, your risk of ischemic stroke increase by 18%.
Make the swap: Choose regular Cheerios or another unsweetened cereal. We love Cheerios because they can help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
3. Frozen waffles
How many waffles do you eat at a time? Probably not just one right? Well two 4 inch waffles are packing 481 mg of sodium! And not only that, but we usually pour a bunch of refined sugar (i.e. syrup) on top. This salty sweet combination might please your taste buds for the moment, but it will trigger more cravings later.
Make the swap: If you must have a waffle, just have one and try topping it with bananas instead of syrup.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘muffin top’ before, so it’s no surprise that muffins can easily create puffy hips. One medium blueberry muffin contains 383 mg of sodium. Yup, that’s definitely enough to make you feel a little bloated, so…
Make the swap: Try having some oatmeal (which helps reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol) topped with some blueberries for a boost of antioxidants and a similar taste!
Oh yes. The bagel. These starchy O’s are teeming with salt at an average of 500 mg of sodium for just a plain bagel. That’s 33% of your recommended daily allowance! And if you put any sort of cream cheese – or worse, high-sodium deli meat – you can expect to get over half your daily dose just in one sitting.
Make the swap: If you have your heart set on something starchy, try some whole wheat toast with a nut butter, like almond butter, on top. The fiber and healthy fats will help keep you fuller longer.
Now that you know about these 5 sneaky breakfast foods, try experimenting with healthy swaps. By keeping your sodium intake low, you can reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. How will you start your mornings off right?