Cutting back on salt in cooking can lead to creative ways to add flavor. A low-sodium diet is important for people with heart failure and those who want to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should. The heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen. Heart failure is the most common cause of hospital admissions in patients ages 65 and older.
More than 5 million Americans have heart failure. Despite its name, the condition is manageable and there are ways people with heart failure can improve their quality of life.
One important lifestyle change for heart failure patients is limiting the amount of sodium in their food. The more sodium a food has, the more water is retained in the body and the harder the heart has to work. The Doylestown Health heart failure team educates patients on the importance of eating a low-sodium diet and offers a support group that meets at Doylestown Hospital.
Sizing Up Sodium
Most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day — much more than the 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association. Doylestown Hospital follows the 2,000-milligram sodium limit.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 75% of sodium consumed by Americans comes from eating packaged and restaurant foods, not from adding salt as many people believe. Only a small amount (about 11%) of sodium comes from salt added to a meal.
5 Tips for Reducing Sodium at Home
Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain only small amounts of sodium
Select foods low in salt (fresh meats, poultry, beans, eggs, milk and yogurt)
Plain rice, pasta and oatmeal are low in sodium, but watch the sodium content in sauces or other ingredients used with them
Add flavor with herbs, spices, herbed vinegar and fruit juices; avoid spice blends that contain salt
When buying packaged foods, always read the food label. Choose foods with less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Low Sodium Recipes Pinterest Board
Try some of these delicious low-sodium holiday dishes.
Find a Cardiologist
About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services
Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Richard A. Reif Heart Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.