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Low-Sodium Diet

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a low-sodium diet?

A low-sodium diet limits foods that are high in sodium (salt). You will need to follow a low-sodium diet if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart failure. You may also need to follow this diet if you have a condition that is causing your body to retain (hold) extra fluid. You may need to limit the amount of sodium you eat in a day to 1,500 to 2,000 mg. Ask your healthcare provider how much sodium you can have each day.

How can I use food labels to choose foods that are low in sodium?

Read food labels to find the amount of sodium they contain. The amount of sodium is listed in milligrams (mg). The % Daily Value (DV) column tells you how much of your daily needs are met by 1 serving of the food for each nutrient listed. Choose foods that have less than 5% of the DV of sodium. These foods are considered low in sodium. Foods that have 20% or more of the DV of sodium are considered high in sodium. Some food labels may also list any of the following terms that tell you about the sodium content in the food:

Which foods should I avoid?

Salty foods are high in sodium. You should avoid the following:

Which foods can I include?

Read the food label to find the amount of sodium in each serving.

What are some ways I can get less sodium?

If you are used to the flavor of salt, it will take time to get used to low-sodium foods. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you create a plan for lowering sodium. The plan will be specific to your needs and your family's needs. You may focus on 1 or 2 changes each week, such as the following:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.