What Foods Contain Sodium?

Sodium, or sodium chloride, is the chemical name for common table salt. All foods contain sodium, either naturally occurring or added during processing. Some foods are particularly high in sodium. Condiments, cured meats and canned soups and vegetables are some of the biggest culprits. These and other salty foods must be limited on a diet designed to cut back on sodium. By comparison, 1 tsp. of table salt contains approximately 2,000 mg of sodium, which is about as much sodium as anyone should have in a day, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The best way to know what foods contain sodium is to read the Nutrition Facts label on food packaging.


Condiments such as pickles, olives, soy sauce and sauerkraut are all high in added sodium, which is used as a preservative and fermenting or brining agent, as well as a flavor enhancer. A dill pickle contains 928 mg of sodium, compared with a sweet pickle, which contains 128 mg, or seven slices of cucumber, which contain a total of 2 mg of sodium. One tbs. of soy sauce contains 1,029 mg of sodium, while 1 tbs. of ketchup contains 156 mg, and the juice of one lemon contains only 1 mg, according to the Colorado State University Extension.

Cured Meat

High-sodium meat products include bacon, frankfurters, ham, corned beef and smoked turkey. Four slices of regular bacon contain 548 mg of sodium; one frankfurter contains 639 mg, 3 oz. of corned beef contains 802 mg and 3 oz. of regular ham contains 1,114 mg. These are high numbers, especially when compared with 3 oz. of steak, which, according to Colorado State University Extension, contains only 55 mg of naturally occurring sodium. Cured meats usually contain additional sodium from preservatives and curing agents such as sodium nitrate.

Canned Foods

Canned vegetables and vegetable products often are high in sodium, especially when compared with fresh or frozen varieties, the Colorado State University Extension says. For example, a tomato contains about 14 mg of sodium, while 1 cup of tomato juice contains 878 mg, 1 cup of tomato soup contains 932 mg and 1 cup of tomato sauce contains 1,498 mg. One ear of fresh corn contains only about 1 mg of sodium, while 1 cup of frozen corn contains 7 mg and 1 cup of canned corn contains 384 mg. Most canned soups and broths are very high in sodium. One cup of a brand of chicken noodle soup contains 1,107 mg. One cup of beef bouillon contains 1,152 mg.

Other Foods

Dairy products such as cheese and commercially prepared pudding also can be high in sodium, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Regular cheddar cheese contains 176 mg per ounce compared with low-sodium cheddar, which contains only 6 mg per oz. One-half cup of cottage cheese contains 257 mg of sodium and 1 oz. of American cheese contains 406 mg. One-half cup of prepared instant chocolate pudding contains 470 mg.

About this Author

Molly McAdams is a writer in New York City. She has been covering health and lifestyle topics for various print and online publishers since 1989. McAdams has written more than 200 articles for LIVESTRONG.com and eHow. She has a Master of Science degree in nutrition.