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Reducing Your Salt Intake

It's often a good idea to reduce the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet if you are diagnosed with certain conditions, such as nephrotic syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, or heart failure. Exactly how much daily salt is needed varies from person to person.

Try some of these tips for lowering your salt intake:

  • Flavor your foods with herbs and spices such as basil, tarragon, or mint, or use salt-free sauces or lemon juice. Try plain or flavored vinegar to flavor soups and stews. Use about 1 tsp (4.9 mL) of vinegar for every 2 qt (1.9 L) of soup or stew.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits.
  • Include more grains and beans in your diet.
  • Choose foods marked "low-salt" or "low-sodium." Foods labeled this way must contain less than 140 mg of sodium in a serving.
  • Do not use salt during cooking or at the table. Talk to your doctor before using a salt substitute. It may not be recommended, because most salt substitutes contain potassium. Potassium can build up in the bodies of people who have kidney disease and cause severe illnesses and even death.
  • Avoid fast foods, prepackaged foods (such as TV dinners and frozen entrees), and processed foods (such as lunch meats and cheeses). Always check the serving size on processed food. Eating more than the single serving size may increase your sodium beyond a healthy level.
  • Avoid foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and disodium phosphate.
  • Avoid canned foods.
  • Avoid salted ham, potato chips, pretzels, salted nuts, and other salty snack foods.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of July 12, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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