Sodium is a vital electrolyte in the body. Muscles and nerves require healthy amounts of sodium to properly function. When too much sodium is present in the body -- called hypernatremia -- edema often occurs, followed by heart and kidney problems. Too little sodium -- called hyponatremia -- leads to lethargy, nausea, headache, restlessness and irritability. Dietary changes might be necessary if your physician suggests you adhere to a high-salt diet due to hyponatremia.
Aim to consume the amount of sodium suggested by your physician each day. If your physician simply suggests that you consume a high-salt diet, aim to consume at least 2,000 mg of sodium per day -- which is regarded as a high-sodium diet.
Read the nutrition labels of all foods to determine their sodium content. Look up the sodium content of foods that do not have nutrition labels by searching a nutritional database.
Cook with ingredients rich in sodium, including soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, canned broth, bouillon and salt. Adding sodium-rich ingredients to your meals will dramatically increase your sodium consumption.
Keep a food diary of everything you consume, including all food and beverages. Record the sodium content of the foods and beverages you consume in your food diary to accurately track your sodium consumption each day. A simple notebook can be used as a food diary, or you can opt for a more advanced system such as an online food log.
- “Foundations of Nursing”; Lois White et al; 2010
- “Contemporary Nutrition”; Gordon Wardlaw and Anne Smith; 2007
- "Basic Nutrition and Diet Therapy"; Staci Nix; 2005