For example, a low-sodium diet is commonly prescribed to people with certain medical conditions, including heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease. This article explains why a low-sodium diet is necessary for some people and reviews benefits, risks and foods to avoid and eat. Sodium is an essential mineral involved in many important bodily functions, including cellular function, fluid regulation, electrolyte balance and maintaining blood pressure 1. Because this mineral is vital to life, your kidneys tightly regulate its levels based on the concentration osmolarity of bodily fluids 2. Sodium is found in most foods you eat — though whole foods like vegetables, fruits and poultry contain much lower amounts. Plant-based foods like fresh produce generally have less sodium than animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy products. Sodium is most concentrated in processed and packaged foods like chips, frozen dinners and fast food where salt is added during processing to enhance flavor. Another major contributor to sodium intake is adding salt to food when preparing meals in your kitchen and as a seasoning before eating. Healthcare professions typically recommend these diets to treat conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease. Although there are variations, sodium intake is generally kept to less than 2—3 grams 2,—3, mg per day 3. For reference, one teaspoon of salt contains about 2, mg of sodium 4.
The Nutrition Facts label found on most packaged and processed foods lists the amount of sodium in each serving. According to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults and children are advised to eat less than 2, mg of sodium per day. Different foods can affect the function of your kidneys. Low-sodium catsup. Need more fiber? Eating too much sodium may raise blood pressure and cause fluid retention, which could lead to swelling of the legs and feet or other health issues. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2, milligrams mg a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1, mg per day for most adults. For more information; food composition books are available which tell how much sodium is in food.
Choose single food items with less than mg or 10 percent of your daily value of sodium. Order food a la carte or individually to get only the foods you want. Read this next. Healthy For Good: Spanish Infographics. Time to scale back on salt? By comparison, people with normal levels noticed a 2. You probably aren’t even aware of just how much sodium is in your diet. Why does diet matter after bariatric surgery?