Which foods have the highest sodium content?

The following foods have the highest sodium content:
  • Onion soup
  • Table salt
  • Dry bread crumbs
  • White flour
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tomato sauce
  • Ham
  • Baked beans
  • Hamburger
In general processed foods such as canned, frozen and packaged foods are going to have a higher sodium content compared to fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats and most dairy products, except cheese. For many canned and frozen foods, reduced sodium products are offered. Key is to read the Nutrition Facts Label and comparison shop, choosing the lower sodium version when possible. 

Cold cuts, cured meats and soups have a history of being notoriously high in sodium, but surprisingly bread and rolls actually top the list due to the frequency that we eat them. Forty percent of the sodium we eat comes from these processed foods:

  • Breads and rolls
  • Cold cuts and cured meats
  • Pizza
  • Poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese
  • Pasta dishes
  • Meat dishes
  • Snacks

Use less processed foods to help reduce the sodium in your diet.

Penn Medicine

Most foods contain some sodium. Foods in their natural state usually contain only small amounts of sodium. Most of the sodium in our diet, in fact almost 80%, comes from food such as processed food, packaged food and prepared food. Processed food can include deli cheese, deli meats, sausage, hot dogs and pickled food. Packaged food can include canned foods (including vegetables and soups), most condiments, marinades and "flavor" packets in boxed rice or pasta. Prepared foods can include foods from restaurants, fast food, baked goods or cooked or prepared meats. It is also important to know that 10% of the sodium in our diet is added at home, either during cooking or at the table with the saltshaker.

Continue Learning about Sodium

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.