Heart Failure and a Low-Sodium Diet: what to Know

One way you can improve heart failure symptoms? Eat less salt.

Sodium, a key mineral in salt, helps your body keep the right amount of fluid in your bloodstream. When you eat a lot of it, your blood vessels take in more water. That raises blood pressure. It also makes heart failure symptoms worse, like the fluid buildup, weight gain, bloating, and swelling that happen when your heart doesn’t pump as well as it should.

To help keep your condition under control, you need to be careful to get the right amount of sodium in your diet.

How Much Salt Should You Eat?

If you’re living with congestive heart failure, it’s best if you limit the sodium in your diet to less than 1,500 milligrams a day. That’s far less than the amount that most Americans eat -- 3,400 milligrams.

You may not realize it, but it’s likely that more than 70% of the sodium in your diet comes from packaged foods and meals cooked in restaurants. Buying fresh foods and cooking at home are some of the best ways to cut back.

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