Are bagels low in sodium?
If you have been told to watch your sodium intake for your heart health, you may be wondering if bagels make the cut.
This article explains the role of sodium in heart health and explores healthy options for heart healthy bagels.
Sodium and Heart Health
Although sodium is an essential mineral, we know that too much of it can raise our blood pressure.
With the rise in processed food consumption, watching our sodium intake levels can be a challenge. Processed foods often contain high amounts of sodium to help extend their shelf life, and bagels are no exception.
In fact, baked goods are among the top sources of sodium in the North American Diet (1).
How To Eat A Low Sodium Diet
Around 80% of the sodium we eat comes from the salt added to processed foods (2). Therefore it is recommended to reduce the consumption of processed foods by opting for fresh meals and choosing food products with low sodium.
Tips For Purchasing Low Sodium Bagels
When looking for low sodium bagels, make sure to check the sodium content on the nutrition facts panel.
Sodium is a mandatory ingredient listed on the food label. Flip the package over to see how much sodium each bagel has.
It is best to aim for bagels with less than 5% Daily Value for sodium when possible.
Other nutrients we don’t want a lot of when purchasing bagels are sugar and saturated fat. Aim for these nutrients to be under 5% too.
A nutrient we do want a lot of is fiber. When possible, try to purchase a bagel that has 15% or more daily value of fiber.
The recommended total intake for sodium is less than 2300 mg a day, and possibly less if living with high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, or heart failure (3).
Meanwhile, according to the USDA, the average bagel contains around 430 mg of sodium, which is almost 20% of the upper limit of sodium intake of sodium (4)!
Bagels can make a great addition to your meal if they are full of fiber, low in sodium and you use healthy toppings. Read on to understand some of their health benefits.
The USDA recommends adults, up to age 50, eat 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber per men for men. On average adults are only eating 10-15 grams per day (5).
Opting for whole-grain bagels is a great way to help you achieve your daily fiber intake. Foods that contain at least 4 grams of fiber, or 15% of Daily Value, on the nutrition facts panel are considered a good source of fiber.
How To Flavor Your Bagel Without Salt?
It is important to note that some traditional toppings like cream cheese, are rich in saturated fats and sodium.
But the good news, you can flavor your bagel without salt. Try using low-sodium toppings such as avocado, tofu cream cheese, peanut butter avocado, tofu, black beans, or natural nut butter for some heart-healthy fats and plant proteins.
Top 5 Low Sodium Bagel Brands
Where Can You Buy Low Sodium Bagels?
Low-sodium bagels should be available in your local grocery store. Try the following suggestions:
- St-Viateur Whole Wheat Bagels, only 5 mg of sodium and a great source of fiber
- PC Blue Menu Everything Bagels, 160 mg of sodium and a good source of fiber
- Byblos Bakery Sesame Bagels, 190 mg sodium
- WW™ 100% Whole Wheat Bagels, 220 mg sodium
- Dempster’s® Everything Bagels, 240 mg sodium
Make Your Own Low Sodium Bagels
You can also make your own low sodium bagels with this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Bagels Low In Sodium?
Bagels are not low in sodium as the average amount of sodium in a bagel is around 20% of your recommended daily sodium intake. There are low-sodium bagels available at the grocery store or you could make your own to lower your sodium consumption.
What Is The Best Everything Bagel Seasoning?
The best everything bagel seasoning is Wishful’s Salt-Free Everything Bagel Seasoning,
Which Bagels Are The Healthiest?
A bagel that is the healthiest is one that is made with whole grains, low in sodium, fat, and sugar, and high in fiber. Not all bagels are created equally, so be sure to check the nutrition fact label or the above list of the top 5 low-sodium bagel recommendations.
Small changes in your diet can help to reduce your sodium intake, tick to the DASH eating pattern, and result in drastic improvements in your overall health. Keeping your sodium in check by choosing low-sodium bagels can reduce your risk of heart disease and manage kidney disease, heart failure and lower blood pressure.
Do you have a favorite bagel brand or recipe? Leave a comment below to let me know!
This article was written by Effa Ali, Nutrition Student, and Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.