What is sodium?
Sodium is the main ingredient in table salt. Sodium is found in many foods, even sweet foods, and is also found in water.
Why should I cut down on sodium?
Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet can be beneficial for many reasons:
• Low-sodium diets can lower blood pressure, meaning it can help reduce the chance of heart attacks, and kidney damage.
• It can also reduce the amount of fluid on your body, meaning your heart won’t have to work as hard to push all the fluids around. This is very beneficial to people who have heart failure- a condition in which your heart has a hard time keeping up with the body’s needs. If a person with heart failure ate too much sodium, it could result in a heart attack.
• It can also keep the kidneys from working too hard, which is important in people who have kidney disease.
• Less sodium in a diet can also help reduce bloating of the stomach and ankles.
• It can also reduce a person’s chance of getting kidney stones.
Which foods should I avoid in order to maintain a sodium free diet?
Foods that have the most sodium are processed foods, which usually come in boxes, cans, jars, etc. These foods tend to have a very high amount of sodium in them.
Examples of foods with high sodium in them are:
• Smoked, cured, or pickled foods.
• Premade frozen meals
• Canned soups
• Sauces, dressings, and condiments.
• Deli meats, hot dogs, and cheese.
• Many meals from restaurants.
What can I do to make sure the amount of sodium in my diet remains low?
The biggest thing to avoid is processed foods. When buying foods at the grocery store, you should buy fresh-frozen fruits and vegetables; meaning they were frozen without anything being added to them. You should also buy meats, fish, chicken, and turkey that are fresh rather than in a can, or sold at the deli. If you have to buy canned or packaged foods, make sure it says low or sodium free, or has less than 400 milligrams of sodium. The biggest thing to avoid eating is fast food. One fast food meal has more sodium in it than a person should have in one day!
One thing to remember when transitioning from your old diet to a low-sodium is to transition slowly; start by changing from one kind of processed food to fresh food at a time. Let your body get use to one thing at a time.