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Food-Drink-Nutrition > Special Needs > Low Sodium

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Restricting sodium to 1500 to 2000 milligrams per day may benefit patients with cardiovascular risks, which include heart failure and hypertension. Following a low sodium diet also helps decrease breathing difficulties caused when the weakened heart has difficulty pumping excess fluid out of the body. 

A low sodium product contains 140 mg of sodium or less per serving. Foods high in sodium include packaged or canned and frozen goods (unless the label reads “low sodium”), deli meats, roasted peanuts, some shellfish, cheese, and baked goods (including cereals, pancakes, and waffles). On a low sodium diet, you’re free to choose foods you like, as long as you stay within the guidelines and watch your serving sizes.

The following foods are generally low in sodium, but always check labels to be sure: whole grain breads, hot cereals (not instant) such as oatmeal, cream of wheat, rice or farina, unsalted crackers, unsalted peanut butter, unsalted popcorn, pasta, potatoes, white or brown rice, dried beans or peas, or low salt canned beans or peas, fresh or frozen beef, poultry, and fish, low sodium canned tuna and salmon, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (and low sodium canned), pudding, ice cream, salt-free baked goods, sugar, honey, jam, jelly and maple syrup. Seasonings that can be used freely include lemon juice, vinegar and most herbs and spices. 

Always use fresh foods when possible. Try using orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades. Select frozen entrees that are 600 mg of sodium or less, and limit to just one per day. If you select canned goods, look for products with low sodium or no sodium. Avoid or limit your alcohol content. You may want to consider using a salt substitute, but should talk to your doctor before deciding.

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