Have high blood pressure? Be wary of some common foods

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Foods that are high in sodium can negatively impact blood pressure.

Running into a convenience store for a quick on-the-road bite seems harmless enough. But if you have high blood pressure then chances are that snack, could come with consequences.

Some favorite snacks have enough sodium to make one’s blood pressure skyrocket. While you don’t have to ban them from your life entirely, just remember to eat them in moderation and enjoy healthier substitutes as well.

Foods containing more than 350 milligrams of sodium per serving are considered to have high sodium and should be avoided, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Here are some common quick food items and their salt content, according to the extension service.

Slim Jim Original Beef Jerky

Slim Jim Original Jerky, 2.9 ounce bag

Serving Size: 1 ounce

Sodium Level: 420 milligrams per serving

Slim Jim’s can be a staple for folks on the road, but the sodium levels are high.  Besides, these snacks are small, and it’s easy to eat an entire bag without thinking. That would mean taking in over 800 milligrams of sodium.

Next time look for low sodium beef jerky. A one ounce Vermont Smoke and Cure Gluten Free BBQ Beef jerky stick contains 280 milligrams of sodium.

Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

15.4 ounce Microwavable Bowl Campbell’s Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Serving Size: 1 cup

Sodium Level: 890 milligrams per serving

This may have been the soup your mom made when you weren’t feeling well, but this deceptively yummy — and convenient — soup comes with 890 milligrams of sodium per cup.

Several brands offer low sodium options.

Frozen Dinners 

Barilla Italian Entress Meat Sauce Gemelli

Serving Size: 9 ounces (1 tray)

Sodium Level: 570 milligrams per serving

Most convenience stores usually have a selection of frozen dinners. The idea of buying one, popping it in the microwave and having dinner just a few minutes later is tempting, but they can be high in sodium.

Replace frozen dinners with a supply of ingredients for a quick meal instead, for when you’re just too tired to put a lot of thought into cooking. A quick qo-to is chicken and rice. Combine plain chicken tenders, brown rice and low sodium teriyaki sauce for a fast but tasty dinner.

Pretzels

Rold Gold Classic Tiny Twist Pretzels, 16 ounce bag

Serving Size: 1 ounce

Sodium Level: 450 milligrams per serving

Pretzels are as common at convenience stores as fuel. They’re delicious, but can also pack a powerful sodium punch.

The good news about peanuts and pretzels is that they almost always come in a low sodium option. Choose that when you need to satisfy the craving.

Here’s a bonus tip: Avoid adding salt to foods. This salt-sodium conversion chart by the Colorado State University Extension, shows how easily a couple quick dashes of salt can add up.

Salt Sodium Equivalent
1/4 teaspoon 500 milligrams
1/2 teaspoon 1,000 milligrams
3/4 teaspoon 1,500 milligrams
1 teaspoon 2,000 milligrams