Tips For Using Less Salt

Most people with heart problems need to eat less salt, which is full of sodium. Too much sodium can be linked to high blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney problems.


Salt goes by many other names. Avoid foods with these words listed as ingredients: salt, sodium, soy sauce, baking soda, baking powder, MSG, monosodium, Na (the chemical symbol for sodium), and some antacids.

At the Store:

Make low-salt choices by reading labels carefully. Look for the total amount of sodium per serving.
Use more fresh food. Buy more fruits and vegetables. Select lean meats, fish and poultry.
Use less canned and packaged foods. These often contain a lot of sodium. Use more fresh/frozen foods. These normally contain less sodium.

In the Kitchen:

Do not add salt to food when you are cooking. Season with flavorings such as pepper, lemon, garlic and onion. Use a cookbook containing low-salt recipes.
It can give you ideas for meals that are healthy for your heart and taste great too. Sprinkle salt-free herbal blends on meats and vegetables.

Eating Out

Tell the waiter you are on a low-salt diet. Ask questions about the menu.
Order fish, chicken and meat boiled, baked, poached or grilled without salt, butter or breading.
Use lemon, pepper and salt-free herb mixes to add flavor. Choose plain steamed rice, boiled noodles, baked or boiled potatoes. Top potatoes with chives and a little sour cream.

Reviewed/Updated Date: January 2012
Clinical Advisory Board Sponsor: Dr. Linda Kinsinger
Clinical Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Kenneth R. Jones, Lynn A. Novorska
Patient Education Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Rose Mary Pries

Tip of the Day

Tip of Day

In remarks about so many traders suddenly dropping dead at the New York Stock Exchange, a cardiologist said that we must stop living "cardiologically incorrect" lives. We have too much: stress, weight, fat in our diets, lack of exercise, tobacco and alcohol use, and just plain living and working at a frenetic pace. NOW is the time to correct this! NOT after your first "big one". Start now by just quietly doing whatever is necessary to fix it, and keep doing it!

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