Sodium

Sodium is a mineral found in many foods, usually as sodium chloride. It helps to regulate your body's fluid balance.

Many of us eat about 3,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium every day. Almost one-fourth of that comes naturally in our food. The rest is added at the table with the saltshaker or is added when foods are processed.

All of us should be aware of the amount of salt in our diet. It is very important for those of us that have heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, liver failure, or long-term steroid use. Most people with kidney disease should limit sodium intake to less than 2000mg per day.

Following a low sodium diet will help you:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Keep from retaining extra water and fluids
  • Keep from getting thirsty so that you don't want to drink as much fluid
  • Help the meds you take work better
  • Decrease your risk for kidney stones and bone loss

How can I lower the salt in my diet without losing flavor?

Tips to cut major sources of salt from your diet:

  • Use fresh foods
  • Use frozen foods that are plain and nothing added 
  • Use canned goods that are "with no added salt"
  • Use fresh chicken, fish and lean meat. Avoid canned or processed meats
  • Use herbs spices and salt-free seasoning blends when cooking and at the table
  • Cook rice, pasta and hot cereal without salt
  • Cut back on instant or flavored rice, pasta and cereal mixes
  • Choose "convenience" foods that are low in sodium
  • Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths and salad dressings
  • Rinse canned foods, such as tuna, to remove some sodium
  • Look for low-sodium, reduced-sodium or no-salt-added foods
  • Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are low in sodium
  • Avoid commercially processed, high sodium foods