Be Aware of Salt in Canned Vegetables

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First Published by: The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand

Canned vegetables can be handy and nutritious ingredients in your cooking but some can be high in salt. Read further to find out how you can minimise the amount of salt you consume from these sources.

There’s no question canned vegetables are handy items in the pantry and provide a consistent and reliable ingredient to your recipes. Generally canned vegetables are healthy and nutritious foods; however often canned vegetables are soaking in a brine made predominantly of water and salt (and sodium). In some cases this can lead to very high sodium contents in some canned vegetables.

Most New Zealanders consume well above the recommended daily amount of sodium and are advised to reduce their intake where possible. While some canned vegetables can be high in sodium, not all of them are, so take time to check the label There are several ways you can minimise the amount of sodium you consume from canned vegetables;

Read the nutrition labels and choose the product in the range you want with the lowest sodium (Na) content (or some even say on the front ‘no added salt’).

When using canned vegetables, such as beans, lentils, corn, asparagus or any other in brine (as opposed to a sauce), drain and rinse them in fresh tap water thoroughly

Source:Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD

For beans and lentils you could also cook large quantities and keep them frozen in small bags for quick and handy use just as you would use canned beans and lentils

See also  How to read food labels

Tomato puree often has salt added while canned whole peeled tomatoes generally do not have as much salt added. You can easily make your own tomato puree by blending whole peeled tomatoes. Simply open a can of whole peeled tomatoes and blend in the can with a stick blender. Remember to choose the canned whole peeled tomatoes with the lowest sodium content

Look for frozen alternatives to canned vegetables as these seldom have salt added


Salt is hidden in many places you might not suspect, like some of the the canned vegetables you find on the grocery store shelf.

Consuming too much sodium can cause increased blood pressure and put you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. The U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans currently recommends that you should not consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, or 1,500 milligrams for older adults, African Americans and people with high blood pressure.

But unless you read every food label and never dine out, you’re probably getting far more than that. In fact, the average person consumes more than two times their recommended daily amount of sodium!

Here are the Mayo Clinic’s tips for cutting back on sodium in your diet:
Eat more fresh foods and fewer processed foods.
Opt for low-sodium products.
Remove salt from recipes whenever possible.
Limit use of sodium-laden condiments.
Use herbs, spices and other flavorings to enhance foods.
Use salt substitutes wisely.

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