Is There Too Much Sodium in Fish?

Q: Is there too much sodium in fish?

A: If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may be taking a closer look at the foods that make up your diet.  According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, sodium should be limited to less than 2,300 mg a day or 1,500 mg if you are over the age of 51, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease or are African American.  We all know that the salt shaker can add sodium to your meals, but it sounds like you’re also finding that individual ingredients can sometimes add more sodium to your diet than you expect.  Foods such as cheese, salad dressings, breads and certain types of seafood can all be sources of excess sodium in your meal. 

When it comes to seafood, there are strategies you can take to stay within recommended sodium guidelines without giving up fish:

  • Stick with fresh seafood most of the time.  Processed and packaged seafood contains more sodium than fresh seafood due to the added salt and preservatives found in packaging.
  • Opt for fresh fish containing lower quantities of sodium.  There are many lower sodium options to choose from, including catfish, cod, salmon, tuna, halibut, flounder, haddock, clams, oysters, mussels, lobster and scallops.
  • Order fish prepared with less added sodium.  Look for choices that include lemon and citrus flavors, fresh herbs and spices and low sodium seasonings such as garlic, onion, and vinegar base.