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Heart Failure and a Low-Salt Diet

People with heart failure may improve their symptoms by reducing the amount of salt (sodium) in their diet. Sodium is a mineral found in many foods. Eating too much salt causes the body to keep or retain too much water, worsening the fluid build-up associated with heart failure.

Following a low-salt diet helps control high blood pressure and swelling (edema), as well as decrease breathing difficulties for people who have heart failure. If you have heart failure, you should consume no more than 2,000 mg (2 grams) of salt per day, and less than 1,500 mg if possible.

This guide will help you recognize which foods to stay away from, give you helpful cooking tips, and help you make healthful food choices when dining out.

Salt Content of Food

The following table illustrates approximately how much salt certain foods contain.

Food

Serving Size

Milligrams salt

Protein

Bacon

1 medium slice

155

Chicken (dark meat)

3.5 oz roasted

87

Chicken (light meat)

3.5 oz roasted

77

Egg, fried

1 large

162

Egg, scrambled with milk

1 large

171

Dried beans, peas, or lentils

1 cup

4

Haddock

3 oz cooked

74

Halibut

3 oz cooked

59

Ham (roasted)

3.5 oz

1,300 to 1,500

Hamburger (lean)

3.5 oz broiled medium

77

Hot dog, beef

1 medium

585

Peanuts, dry roasted

1 oz

228

Pork loin, roasted

3.5 oz

65

Roast lamb leg

3.5 oz

65

Roast veal leg

3.5 oz

68

Salmon

3 oz

50

Shellfish

3 oz

100 to 325

Shrimp

3 oz

190

Spareribs, braised

3.5 oz

93

Steak, T-bone

3.5 oz

66

Tuna, canned in spring water

3 oz. chunk white

300

Turkey (dark meat)

3.5 oz roasted

76

Turkey (light meat)

3.5 oz roasted

63

 

 

 

Dairy Products

American cheese

1 oz

443

Buttermilk, salt added

1 cup

260

Cheddar cheese

1 oz

175

Cottage cheese, low-fat

1 cup

918

Milk, whole

1 cup

120

Milk, skim or 1%

1 cup

125

Swiss cheese

1 oz

75

Yogurt, plain

1 cup

115

 

 

 

Vegetables and vegetable juices

Asparagus

6 spears

10

Avocado

1/2 medium

10

Beans, white cooked

1 cup

4

Beans, green

1 cup

4

Beets

1 cup

84

Broccoli, raw

1/2 cup

12

Broccoli, cooked

1/2 cup

20

Carrot, raw

1 medium

25

Carrot, cooked

1/2 cup

52

Celery

1 stalk raw

35

Corn (sweet, no butter/salt)

1/2 cup boiled

14

Cucumber

1/2 cup sliced

1

Eggplant, raw

1 cup

2

Eggplant, cooked

1 cup

4

Lettuce

1 leaf

2

Lima beans

1 cup

5

Mushrooms

1/2 cup (raw or cooked)

1 to 2

Mustard greens

1/2 cup chopped

12

Onion, chopped

1/2 cup (raw or cooked)

2 to 3

Peas

1 cup

4

Potato

1 baked

7

Radishes

10

11

Spinach, raw

1/2 cup

22

Spinach, cooked

1/2 cup

63

Squash, acorn

1/2 cup

4

Sweet potato

1 small

12

Tomato

1 medium

11

Tomato juice, canned

3/4 cup

660

 

 

 

Fruits and fruit juices

Apple

1 medium

1

Apple juice

1 cup

7

Apricots

3 medium

1

Apricots (dried)

10 halves

3

Banana

1 medium

1

Cantaloupe

1/2 cup chopped

14

Dates

10 medium

2

Grapes

1 cup

2

Grape juice

1 cup

7

Grapefruit

1/2 medium

0

Grapefruit juice

1 cup

3

Orange

1 medium

1

Orange juice

1 cup

2

Peach

1

0

Prunes (dried)

10

3

Raisins

1/3 cup

6

Strawberries

1 cup

2

Watermelon

1 cup

3

 

 

 

Breads and grains

Bran flakes

3/4 cup

220

Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

159

Bread, white

1 slice

123

Bun, hamburger

1

241

Cooked cereal (instant)

1 packet

250

Corn flakes

1 cup

290

English muffin

1/2

182

Pancake

1 (7-inch round)

431

Rice, white long grain

1 cup

4

Shredded wheat

1 biscuit

0

Spaghetti

1 cup

7

Waffle

1 frozen

235

 

 

 

Convenience foods

Canned soups

1 cup

600 to 1,300

Canned and frozen main dishes

8 oz

500 to 2,570

Note: These are salt content ranges -- the salt content in certain food items may vary.

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