Salty foods can cause a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, kidney stones, enlarged muscle heart, and headaches. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams daily, while the recommended amount by the American Heart Association (AHA) is 1,500 milligrams. A large contributor to this salt epidemic is processed food, and many of the things that Americans eat contains sodium additives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75 percent of the sodium people in America consume comes from processed and restaurant foods — not the salt shaker.

The AHA and the American Stroke Association have teamed together to increase awareness about salt intake. They have developed what is known as the “Salty Six” — a group of foods that have high salt content, which can lead to many of the above-named diseases. So, before you stock up on any of the products listed below, check the label and look for foods with a reduced salt content.

1. Breads, Rolls, and Other Enriched Bread Products

It’s one of the biggest hidden culprits in the American diet, and because breads are in so many of our meals, people tend to overlook it. For example, in one serving of Wonder Bread, which is two slices, there is approximately 300 milligrams of sodium that accounts for 12 percent of the daily intake. This might be someone’s breakfast or lunch. Combine this with the other foods throughout the day and someone can exceed their daily recommended salt intake easily.

2. Cured Meats

The way meats are cured and stored makes them more likely to have a high-salt content. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database, a single 23-gram slice of prepackaged ham contains 260 milligrams of sodium. Salt is useful because it helps to preserve the meats, but it also adds an exorbitant amount of sodium.

3. Pizza

Regardless of pizza being mostly made up of bread, the cheese, which is oftentimes processed, contains a lot of salt. Depending on the type of sauce that the pizza is made with, salt content may be high, especially in prepackaged and frozen pizzas.

4. Poultry

Depending on the preparation and the seasonings used, chicken and other poultry can contain a lot of salt. Be sure to read labels carefully if you’re shopping for prepared or already cooked chicken. Your best bet is to buy the raw chicken yourself.

5. Canned Soup

If you take a look at any given can of soup and you’ll see a very high salt content — giving the food its flavor and the ability to have a longer shelf life. In Campbell’s original soup, the chicken noodle there is 870 milligrams of sodium each can.

6. Sandwiches

Not only does the bread add to this, but most sandwiches from fast food chains or stores can be made with a lot of preservatives — like salt. Some of these sandwiches can contain more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value and that’s just in one meal.

salty six
The top six saltiest foods. American Heart Association