Sandwiches Hidden Source of Too Much Sodium

It's lunch time. You open up your lunchbox, head to the refrigerator, or pick your favorite drive-thru. Chances are pretty good that your mid-day meal often includes some kind of sandwich. However, your sandwich could be the source of too much sodium in your diet.

In a recent study, researchers looked at sodium levels in the sandwiches consumed by more than 140,000 people as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that about half of all adults eat at least one sandwich a day. They also found that many sandwiches made from processed meats or served at fast food restaurants contain high levels of sodium.

For example, a popular cold cut sandwich made with ham, salami, and cheese may contain as much as 3,800 mg of sodium. Some meatball sandwiches contain just as much sodium. Even some turkey sandwiches contain 2,000 mg of sodium when it's loaded with sauces, cheese, and bacon. High-sodium sandwiches may be one reason high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and obesity have become such major health problems in the United States.

The average American consumes 3,400-plus milligrams of sodium per day, mainly from sandwiches and other processed foods. However, the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day for heart health.

If you're trying to follow a low-sodium diet, you can build a healthier sandwich by using lean meats like chicken and turkey, adding more vegetables like spinach, tomato, and green peppers, limiting cheese, and choosing low-sodium breads and sauces.

You can also stick to your diet by choosing from the many low-sodium meal options available at like Beef Stroganoff with Mixed Vegetables, Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Sauté, and Cod with Miso Ginger, Black Beans & Rice with Peas & Carrots. These items heat up beautifully in your office microwave!