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Cutting Down on Salt

An article from The American Heart Association

Limiting sodium — which we get through salt, baking powder, baking soda and other substances in foods we eat — is one of the most important things that people with heart failure can do. Sodium makes the body hold on to fluid. To pump the added fluid, the heart has to work harder. People with heart failure shouldn’t put this extra strain on their hearts.

Also, too much salt can worsen symptoms like swelling and shortness of breath and cause weight gain. If those symptoms become severe, the person may need to be admitted to the hospital.
Physicians often recommend keeping salt intake below 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day for most people. However, for people with heart failure, recommended sodium intake is no more than 2,000 mg per day. Most people eat considerably more than this, so it’s likely that a person with congestive heart failure will need to find ways to cut down on salt. Since most salt intake comes from eating and drink prepared and packaged foods, reading food labels to determine how much sodium is in a food or beverage is a great start to lowering sodium intake.

Here are some other tried-and-true strategies for reducing sodium intake. Start small and gradually work up to bigger changes. (We’ve tried to arrange the strategies that way.)

Tips on table salt

Limiting salt when you cook

Avoiding high-sodium foods

This recommendation is probably the hardest to follow, because so many convenience foods (like packaged meals and soups) and snacks (potato chips and popcorn) are high in sodium. But most of us take in more sodium through these foods than by using table salt. That’s why it’s essential to cut back and eventually eliminate them. The foods below are usually high in sodium (but read the labels, because some may be available in a low-salt or unsalted form):

Choosing low-sodium alternatives



1. No Salt, Please! « My Gift of Cancer - May 11, 2009

[…] I compiled (but didn’t edit carefully) a few tips and some good advice I found. Here is what I gathered. Sorry, I mostly forgot to copy the names of the websites and URLs so the ideas just flow from one to the next without much credit. There’s also a bit of repetition, but perhaps that can serve as emphasis? I hope and pray it’s helpful anyway. By the way, there’s another whole article from the American Heart Association posted as a new page yesterday. Check it out by clicking here: Cutting Down on Salt […]

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