High sodium levels cause heart disease and some foods have a surprisingly high salt content. Check out the AHA Salty Six list, foods to avoid for better health.


Salty Six is a generic term for 6 foods identified by the American Heart Association (AHA) as having surprisingly high levels of sodium, dangerous for cardiovascular health. Find out which seemingly innocent foods contain so much salt, that eating them in restricted portions can become a necessity.

Excess sodium in foods often comes from the food itself, not from adding a pinch of salt. According to AHA, more than 75% of the sodium intake comes from processed or restaurant foods. Take a look at the Salty Six food list and find out which foods you eat may contain very high levels of sodium.

Salty Six Foods: Bread and rolls

A single piece of bread may contain up to 230 mg of sodium, so the salt levels quickly add up when you eat bread and rolls with each meal. Cut back on bread, especially white bread.

Salty Six Food List: Cold Cuts and Cured Meats

Added to most cooked and processed meats, sodium prevents spoilage, but isn't good for the heart. Pre-packaged or deli turkey can contain over 1000 mg of sodium.

Salty Six: Foods to Avoid for Better Health


Salty Six Bad Foods: Pizza

A single slice of pizza contains up to 760 mg of sodium, making two slices enough for a full day's recommended salt intake. Vegetarian pizza can have less sodium, but the levels remain high.

Salty Six Foods: Poultry

Raw chicken contains salt and the sodium levels can get very high during preparation. Processed chicken is worse: 600 mg of sodium are hiding in only 3 ounces of frozen and breaded nuggets.

Salty Six Food List: Soup

Canned soup can quickly fill up most of the daily recommended sodium intake in just one serving. A single cup of canned chicken soup can contain as much as 940 mg of sodium.

Salty Six Bad Foods: Sandwiches

Combining bread and cured meats with other salty condiments in a sandwich creates a sodium bomb. With ketchup and mustard, a single sandwich can have over 1,500 mg of sodium.

Salty Six: Foods to Avoid for Better Health

The DASH Diet and the Salty Six Foods

The American Heart Association advises that the daily limit of sodium should be 1,500 milligrams, smaller than the US Department of Agriculture recommendation of a maximum of 2,300 milligrams.

For maximum health, AHA promotes the DASH diet, a set of recommendations for everyone, not just for those who are suffering from cardiovascular problems. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension include few sodium rich foods, for a healthy lifestyle that can also contribute to weight loss.