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Spotting salty foods

Find out how much sodium is in some common foods and how you can maintain a low sodium diet. Rishi is a pediatric infectious disease physician and works at Khan Academy. Created by Rishi Desai.

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Video transcript

So keeping in mind how much salt you should be taking in, if you're on a low-sodium diet. And I'm just going to write that here "low sodium diet." I was thinking of all the foods that I typically like to consume, and where that fits into the amount that I'm allowed in a given day. So if I'm on a low-sodium diet, the amount, we said, was about 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. And this is sodium not salt, remember. And if I go through a few foods, I thought it would be fun to figure out how much sodium is in these foods. So let's start out with something I had not too long ago. I was recently on a road trip and I stopped off on the side of the road and I picked up one of my favorite little snacks, which was a large carton of fries. So I had some fries, and they were delicious. So these large fries. And I actually love to eat fries with ketchup. So I had five ketchup packets. So that was one food item. And another food item I've had many, many times, especially when I'm kind of in a big rush and I don't have time to go out and get a proper lunch, I'll sit down and grab a cup of noodles. So I'll grab a cup of noodles. And if you've had these, they basically are dehydrated noodles that are in here. And if you're like me, you love them. But this is a cup of noodles. This was another item I thought would be good to look at. And the last item is actually similar to the cup of noodles. It's actually not a cup of noodles, but the kind that you might take when you're sick. So whenever I'm sick, one of the things I always reach for is a pot of water. And I like to boil up the water and cook a block of noodles inside of it. Put the flavoring packet there, and this is again, these are the dehydrated noodles. And I like to eat those. And so these are my dehydrated noodles in a pot of water. And I'll call that a block of noodles. And I usually eat one whole block at a time with the flavoring. So, I've got a few things here, a block of noodles, cup of noodles, and also my large fries with ketchup. And I know my limit is 1,500 milligrams in a day. So how far along do these things get me? So one by one, let me just tell you the answer. The large fries with packets of ketchup, five packets, is about 900 milligrams of sodium. The cup of noodles is about 1,200 milligrams of sodium. And you can see I'm going up, up, up. And so my block of noodles is actually 1600 milligrams of sodium. So actually this one puts me over the amount that I'm allowed in a whole day. And that's actually, usually what I would have just for lunch. And so it's an immense amount of sodium, tons of sodium. And so it got me thinking, how in the world-- I'm not actually on a low-sodium diet-- but If I was, how in the world would I be able to do it? And so I was browsing the internet and I came across a website, which I'm going to share with you. And it's basically from the Mayo Clinic. And actually, I don't want to say this is the only website. There are tons of great websites out there. But this one website actually got me thinking. And so what I thought is, why don't I figure out what kind of food I could actually get. If I was on a low-sodium diet, what would make sense? And so I picked out a few things from their website that I thought would be tasty. They have one thing, that's roasted salmon. This is my salmon. And if I eat the roasted salmon with olive oil and chives, the amount of sodium is 60 milligrams. Not bad, right? And let's say I want to eat that with some potatoes. So I got some roasted potatoes over here. Which I love roasted potatoes, so does my dad. And these roasted potatoes get me 7 milligrams of sodium. So this is my roasted potatoes, 7 milligrams of sodium. It actually dropped the "e" there, sorry. So, potatoes are great, salmon is great, but I like my vegetables. So what if I get some asparagus in there? So some roasted asparagus, and there's a recipe for some mushrooms with the roasted asparagus. This meal is looking better and better. And so if I get some asparagus with the mushrooms, that's an additional 11 milligrams of sodium. So it's actually pretty reasonable. And in fact, since I'm doing so well, I actually was tempted to go to their dessert menu. And I actually grabbed one of the recipes for apple pie. And apple pie is an American favorite, certainly one of my favorites. And I love to make apple pie. And that gets me about 16 milligrams of sodium. So if I'm totalling all this up, I have-- I'll do it in the corner here. I've got, let's say, 60 plus 7 plus 11 plus 16. And that total comes to, let's see, 71, 78, 88, 94 milligrams of sodium. And so 94 milligrams of sodium is well within my limit of 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. So this is one place you can go to get some good food recommendations. As I said, there are many, many others as well.