Here's What The 'Salty Six' Really Means

A lot of really fine things come in sixes. There are six strings on a guitar, for example, and six geese-a-laying in the classic Christmas carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." There are six sides to a cube, and six players on a hockey team. And please, let us not forget that beer comes in six-packs, as do your ab muscles (although you may have to do some choosing as between the two). There is, however, one thing we can think of that comes in six that isn't so fine, and that is the "salty six." The salty six refers to six foods that the American Heart Association (AHA) says can add high levels of sodium to our diet (via American Heart Association (AHA)).

But what does "high levels of sodium" even refer to? According to the AHA, a healthy diet — one that "emphasizes the intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean vegetable or animal protein, and fish and minimizes the intake of trans fats, red meat and processed red meats, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks," also limits daily salt intake to 2,300 mg or less (regardless of how many calories your diet may consist of). And that can add up quickly, especially if you're partaking in the "salty six." Here's what the salty six really means in terms of your diet.

The salty six can add up quickly

The "salty six" are six foods that are high in sodium, according to the AHA. That means that any of these "salty six" are going to quickly run up your sodium intake, using up your daily recommended allowance all too quickly.

The first is anything in the category of bread and rolls, which may not be particularly high in sodium on an individual basis, but which can quickly add up. One reason that sandwiches, burritos and tacos, and pizza are also members of the "salty six" is because they are made up, significantly, of bread or bread equivalents.

In addition, cold meats and cured meats are members of the salty six. Why? "One 2-oz serving, or six thin slices ... can contain as much as a third of your daily recommended sodium intake," according to the American Heart Association. So that makes sandwiches a double-whammy in terms of sodium. Same with pepperoni or other meat-topped pizzas.

The sixth member of the salty six is soup, which can contain as much sodium as a serving of cold cuts.