7 Canned Foods That Are Full Of Sodium And What To Buy Instead

looking at canned food label
looking at canned food label - Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Canned food and sodium often go hand-in-hand, but they don't necessarily need to. Although some of the most widely-used canned goods out there, from tuna to beans, can be surprisingly high in salt, it's usually added to boost flavor and preserve the texture of your foods, not to preserve it. The truth is that there are loads of low-sodium and salt-free options for your favorite canned foods out there, and some of them can be found right next to your favorite brand, at basically the same price. These foods offer you flavor and convenience as you still keep an eye on your health.

It's important to remember that canned food doesn't necessarily need salt as part of its preservation process. Although it can help food taste better, it doesn't contribute to food safety, as the canning process kills off any microbes and keeps them from deteriorating the food or making it unsafe. Unfortunately, the sodium added to canned food can raise your overall intake, and directly impact your risk of developing some of the most common health conditions out there, like heart disease and stroke. It's wise to think about where you can cut back on your sodium intake from canned goods -- so check out some of the most common salt-filled offenders and their alternatives right here.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

‌Avoid: Libby's Canned Cut Green Beans

Libby's canned cut green beans
Libby's canned cut green beans - Libby's

Libby's is a well-known brand, offering some of the most common canned foods at a very affordable price. Unfortunately, though, to benefit from that affordability, you'll need to put up with a lot of sodium, particularly in its green beans. A single portion of Libby's Canned Cut Green Beans contains 380 milligrams of sodium, which accounts for 17% of your recommended daily value. It's worth pointing out that a single serving comes in at just a ½-cup, and if you're not measuring things out specifically, you may end up with way more than that.

Interestingly, too, these green beans seem to be surprisingly lacking in nutrition elsewhere. While a cup of raw green beans has a whopping 211 milligrams of potassium, here that amount is significantly reduced, with just 60 milligrams in a ½-cup serving. It's the salt content that we're mainly concerned with here, though. If you do pick up a canned of Libby's Canned Cut Green Beans and still want to use them, it's always best to drain and rinse them thoroughly in cold running water. Doing this can reduce the sodium content considerably, although they'll still retain some salt.

Buy: Del Monte No Salt Added Cut Green Beans

Del Monte cut green beans
Del Monte cut green beans - Del Monte

We'll say it until we're blue in the face: You don't have to put up with salty canned vegetables. Canned food giant Del Monte offers proof of that in the form of its No Salt Added Cut Green Beans. These beans look virtually identical to all of their saltier market competitors, but they're nearly devoid of salt, with just 10 milligrams per ½-cup serving. They also carry significantly more potassium than other types of canned green beans, and although the price is slightly higher than some more sodium-packed varieties, the difference is pretty minimal.

We're pleased to see Del Monte offering a sodium-conscious option to green bean lovers, and confirming the fact that you really don't need loads of salt in your canned veggies. Buying Del Monte's green beans won't just make your side of veggies less salty, either: It'll also stop any food you're making with your beans, like green bean casserole, being chock-full of sodium.

Avoid: Starkist Chunk Light Tuna In Water

Starkist chunk light tuna
Starkist chunk light tuna - StarKist

We're all used to salty canned tuna, and it's easy to assume that salt is because this fish comes from, well, the sea. However, much of the sodium in canned tuna is added once the fish is caught and processed, and sometimes it can spiral to pretty surprising figures. This is the case with StarKist's Chunk Light Tuna in Water. Although this product is branded as being simply packed "in water," it fails to mention that it also delivers 360 milligrams of sodium per serving.

As such, you'll be consuming roughly 16% of your daily value in just 113 grams of tuna. It's worth bearing in mind, too, that we often combine tuna with other salty ingredients to make it taste better. Throw in a few tablespoons of mayo, which comes in at around 95 milligrams of sodium each, and 2 tablespoons of capers (clocking in at a whopping 630 milligrams of sodium), and you could be consuming over 1,000 milligrams in one sitting. That's before you take into account any bread you use for your open-face tuna sandwich, and any sides you have with your lunch.

Buy: Wild Planet No Salt Added Wild Albacore Tuna

Wild Planet wild albacore tuna
Wild Planet wild albacore tuna - Wild Planet

The gently meaty, slightly fishy taste of tuna often gets blunted when it's canned, due to the copious amounts of sodium added to it. Luckily, Wild Planet has a solution -- in some of its products, it keeps its sodium content as low as possible. Wild Planet No Salt Added Wild Albacore Tuna is a godsend for tuna lovers, with just 85 milligrams of sodium per 3-ounce serving. That weighs in at just 4% of your daily value, a quarter of what comparable brands offer.

It's no wonder that this product is clearly beloved for its taste. Wild Planet No Salt Added Wild Albacore Tuna has a mightily impressive rating of 4.9 out of 5 on Target's website, with multiple reviews commenting on its superb, light taste. You'll also benefit from a sense of satisfaction when buying this tuna, due to the fact that it's sustainably pole & line caught. It is worth pointing out that it is a little more expensive than some other brands, but if you're looking for low-sodium quality, it's worth it.

‌Avoid: Walmart Great Value Corned Beef

Great Value corned beef
Great Value corned beef - Great Value

Canned corned beef is a huge culprit of being a source of sodium. Canned corned beef is made by first dry or wet curing the meat in a combination of salt, sugar, and other seasonings like herbs and spices. It's this curing process that makes it so sodium-packed, as while the beef is slowly absorbing flavor, it's also absorbing the salt it's sitting in.

Despite knowing how it's made, though, some canned corned beef brands can still shock you when it comes to their salt levels. This is the case with Walmart's Great Value Corned Beef. This product may be affordable, but it packs an extraordinary amount of salt into each serving, providing 830 milligrams of sodium into just 84 grams of food. This covers more than a third of your daily value. Get carried away and eat the whole can, and you'll have consumed an eye-watering 3,320 milligrams of sodium.

Importantly, it's worth noting how many calories you get for this high sodium content. In just one serving, there are only 190 calories of food. Calories are, after all, our main source of energy, and as such it may be worth considering how you can find alternative sources that aren't so sodium-packed, so you're not having to keep an eye on your sodium content elsewhere.

Buy: Libby's Corned Beef With 25% Less Sodium

Libby's corned beef 25% less sodium
Libby's corned beef 25% less sodium - Libby's

It's pretty difficult to find low-sodium corned beef, and even lower-sodium versions can still be fairly salty. However, if you can't go without it, you'll be pleased to know there are choices out there. Libby's Corned Beef With 25% Less Sodium is our top pick for a less-salty version of the classic food. With 390 milligrams of sodium per serving, it still has a fair amount (and will cover 17% of your daily value), but it's still less than half the amount per serving of comparable brands.

However, you should pay attention to how big these serving sides are. The recommended amount in a regular-sodium can of corned beef is 84 grams, whereas in Libby's Corned Beef With 25% Less Sodium, the serving size is 56 grams -- a full ounce smaller. When you do the math, and work out how much sodium there is in every can (instead of in every serving), you'll quickly see that the Libby's version has 2,340 milligrams, which still clocks in at more than the daily value of 2,300 milligrams set out by the FDA. Unfortunately, due to the way that canned corn beef is made, it can be tricky to find super-low-sodium options, so it's wise to watch your intake.

Avoid: S&W Cannellini Beans

S&W cannellini beans
S&W cannellini beans - S&W

Who'd have thought something as simple as cannellini beans would be so salty? That's the case when you're buying S&W Cannellini Beans. Although these beans may look unassuming, they contain a surprising amount of sodium, with 410 milligrams of sodium in just a ½-cup serving. That covers 18% of your daily value, in a fairly small amount of food -- that you'll likely be combining with other salty ingredients as part of a larger dish.

The good news when buying canned beans like these is that they're incredibly easy to rinse, which can help remove some of their sodium content. Rinsing cannellini beans thoroughly can bring down their sodium levels by up to 41%, and even just draining them can cut their saltiness by around a third. We would argue, though, that it's way easier to just buy low-sodium versions. Cannellini beans are one of those ingredients that is rarely eaten on its own, and when you're placing them in a dish like smoky tomato and cannellini bean soup, they'll take on the other flavors quickly -- meaning you don't really need that extra salt anyway.

Buy: 365 By Whole Foods Market Organic Cannellini Beans

365 by Whole Foods cannellini beans
365 by Whole Foods cannellini beans - Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market has a pretty good reputation for stocking food that seems just a bit more nutritious. While that may not be the case with every single food item, it's definitely the case with its 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Cannellini Beans. These beans slash the sodium content you normally see in canned beans considerably. In one ½-cup serving, there's just 110 milligrams of sodium, approximately 5% of your daily value.

This product's ingredient list is also one we can approve of. In every can of 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Cannellini Beans, there's just three ingredients: the organic beans themselves, water, and sea salt. Although using sea salt doesn't specifically put them at any nutritional advantage, the lack of any unnecessary preservatives or flavorings (which are often in other cannellini bean brands) means that you're benefiting from pure beans and little else. If you're really keen on keeping your sodium content down, you can rinse the beans.

Avoid: Del Monte Diced Tomatoes With Basil, Garlic & Oregano

Del Monte diced flavored tomatoes
Del Monte diced flavored tomatoes - Del Monte

Diced tomatoes are one of the fundamental food items you need to have in your pantry, and serve as the base of a near-infinite amount of dishes. In their most basic form, though, they can be a little plain, which is why more food manufacturers have started offering flavored versions spiked with herbs and seasonings. Regrettably, these versions can also be spiked with a lot of salt. Take Del Monte's Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, for instance. In one ½-cup serving, there's 350 milligrams of sodium, enough to cover 15% of your daily value.

That's not the only thing we're concerned about in this product, either. Each serving of these tomatoes also has 4 grams of added sugar, a significant chunk of the daily recommended amount of 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men (via the American Heart Association). A dash of sugar can certainly kick your tomato sauce up a notch, but personally, we prefer to control how much we add to our tomatoes. That goes for sodium, too. It's far better to skip these salty tomatoes and season your own plain ones.

Buy: Hunt's No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes

Hunt's no salt added tomatoes
Hunt's no salt added tomatoes - Hunt's

Forgive us for being old-fashioned, but we just don't think you need added salt in canned diced tomatoes. Luckily, some food manufacturers agree. Hunt's No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes is one of the best options out there for people looking for low-sodium options, and provides a mere 15 milligrams of sodium per serving. This means that for every 121 grams of tomatoes you consume, you'll be having just 1% of your daily value of sodium. Not bad, huh?

You won't have to spend loads of money to get a low-sodium option here, either: Each can of Hunt's No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes is just $1.50 at Walmart, just a few cents more expensive than other, saltier choices. Picking this brand allows you to enjoy all of the nutritious benefits of canned tomatoes, which are chock-full of vitamin C, as well as lycopene and beta-carotene, two important antioxidants. It also means that you get to flavor your tomatoes however you want, without worrying about additional flavors being added in by the food producer.

Avoid: Campbell's Homestyle Harvest Tomato With Basil Soup

Campbell's homestyle soup
Campbell's homestyle soup - Campbell's

Canned soup is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to sodium content. This sodium is added in to make this simple food taste better, but oftentimes food producers take it way too far. This is the case with Campbell's Homestyle Harvest Tomato with Basil Soup, which supplies, quite frankly, a ridiculous amount of sodium per serving. In every cup of soup, there's a massive 740 milligrams of sodium, almost a third of your daily value.

There's also an eye-watering amount of added sugar in every serving, with 10 grams being thrown in to amp up the soup's flavor. It's worth keeping in mind, too, that these nutritional values are present in just 130 calories' worth of food, which means that you're getting a lot of salt for not a lot of energy. There's also just a few grams of fiber and protein in each serving, and you've gotta ask how long this soup will fill you up for. It's fair to say that you're unlikely to eat this soup on its own, too, and if you're having it with a few slices of regular whole wheat bread, you'll raise your sodium intake by a couple hundred milligrams. ‌

Buy: Health Valley No Salt Added Tomato Soup

Health Valley tomato soup
Health Valley tomato soup - Health Valley

If you're craving soup, don't be discouraged, as there are also some great low-sodium versions available at the store. Health Valley's No Salt Added Tomato Soup has definitely caught our eye, with its impressive sodium content of just 60 milligrams per serving. With this amount in a single cup, you could have the whole 2-cup can and still only consume 120 milligrams, or 6% of your daily value. Not bad, huh?

That's not where this soup stops being attractive, either. There's an impressive 3 grams of fiber in every serving, which boosts the its ability to keep you satisfied after eating it. This soup is also absolutely packed with vitamin C, and has impressive vitamin A and calcium content. Its ingredients list is also pretty appealing, with every item listed being organic. While you might be worried about the lack of taste in such a low-sodium soup, never fear: Multiple customers have noted that it's got a great flavor, and is as good on its own as it is as an ingredient.

Avoid: Swanson White Premium Chunk Chicken Breast

Swanson canned chicken breast
Swanson canned chicken breast - Swanson

If you're whipping up a quick and easy chicken salad or just need some extra protein in your pasta dish, canned chicken can be incredibly convenient. Unfortunately, that convenience can come at a sodium-filled cost. Some brands, like Swanson White Premium Chunk Canned Chicken Breast in Water, can have a fairly high amount of sodium, with 390 milligrams per serving. Its serving size is also relatively small, and that amount of sodium covers just 85 grams of chicken.

Instead of going for a canned product like this (which will take out 17% of your daily value for sodium in one go), we would always recommend cooking your own chicken breast at home. While you lose the convenience factor that canned chicken provides, your sodium levels will thank you: 100 grams of boneless, skinless chicken breast contains just 67 milligrams of sodium. It's worth remembering, however, that some raw chicken options can be saltier than this, thanks to being injected with brine before being packaged. This brine can make chicken look more plump and improve its flavor, but it will also raise your sodium intake considerably.

Buy: Wild Planet Low Sodium Organic Canned Chicken

Wild Planet canned chicken
Wild Planet canned chicken - Wild Planet

Eating canned chicken on a regular basis can leave you with a pretty high sodium intake. Thankfully, some brands have endeavored to keep their sodium content low -- and while it can be tricky to find salt-free canned chicken, Wild Planet's offering is the next best thing. Wild Planet Low Sodium Organic Canned Chicken is a godsend on the sodium front, and contains just 30 milligrams per 85-gram serving. It's also made without any other additional ingredients, with no starches or preservatives added in to improve its texture.

Wild Planet's product is also made with antibiotic-free, free range meat, giving you further peace of mind about what you're eating. If you're worried about the taste of this chicken, too, its reviews should give you peace of mind. Numerous customers have pointed out how fresh and moist it is, and are also quick to note its consistently high quality. They also love how chunky the chicken pieces are, giving you something to get your teeth around.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal