No-Salt Diet

Salt shaker
Salt helps your body maintain fluid balance. (Image: Alina Utter/Hemera/Getty Images)

To remain healthy, you only need roughly 200 to 300 milligrams of sodium per day. Unlike the name implies, a no-salt diet allows salt but requires you to restrict added salt. For this reason, it's commonly known as a no-salt-added diet. This differs from a low-salt diet, which allows added salt in limited amounts. Your doctor prescribes a no-salt diet if you have conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney failure or edema.

Tailored to Your Needs

Pretzel salty snack
Salted pretzels (Image: Igor Dutina/iStock/Getty Images)

Your doctor will tailor the no-salt diet to your specific needs. The amount of sodium you can safely consume each day depends on your condition. Salt occurs naturally in some foods and is added to others. General guidelines include replacing table salt with herbs and spices when cooking and avoiding foods high in added salt, such as processed meats, canned soups and salted snacks like pretzels.

When It's Time to Shop

Low in sodium
Low Sodium label (Image: Mark Poprocki/Hemera/Getty Images)

Your physician or dietitian will likely provide a "safe list" to make it easier when you go grocery shopping, along with specific guidelines and tips. Reading labels will play a major role in choosing the appropriate foods. Products canned in brine such as olives, pickles and relish contain too much added sodium. Some packaged foods labeled "no added salt" still contain high sodium levels. Choosing fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over canned gives you control over added salt. Your physician will provide a specific sodium goal for you to stay within, which will help you with meal planning.

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