If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, your doctor may advise you to follow a low-sodium diet. Eating too much salt can increase the amount of fluid in your body, potentially worsening your condition, so eating low sodium foods may help to prevent complications. According to the Cleveland Clinic, low-sodium foods are those that contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Your doctor can tell you how much sodium you need in your diet each day.
Vegetables and Fruits
Most vegetables and fruits are very low in sodium, particularly if you eat them raw or cooked without added seasonings or flavorings. Some canned preparations include extra sodium as part of preservatives. Fruits, such as apples, strawberries, watermelon, grapes and dates, all have less than 5 mg of sodium per serving. Additionally, many vegetables, such as asparagus, beans, lettuce, eggplant, peas, potatoes, cucumber and squash, all have less than 20 mg of sodium per serving. One medium carrot contains only 25 mg of sodium, while ½ cup cooked broccoli contains 20 mg.
Some grains can be low in sodium, but read labels when buying packaged items to determine how much is in each serving. Packaged biscuits, cakes, cookies and instant cereals all have higher levels of sodium. Stick with grains, such as multi-grain bread, wheat crackers, cereals, such as puffed wheat or puffed rice, egg noodles, rice or popcorn without added salt for low-sodium options. One cup of cooked, whole-wheat spaghetti contains only 4 mg of sodium, while one cup of cooked wild rice contains only 5 mg.
Meat and dairy products may have higher levels of sodium than vegetables and fruits, but there are still some products that are considered to be low in sodium. Controlling portion sizes and avoiding excess gravies and sauces with your meat may also help to restrict some sodium. Meats, such as chicken, halibut, pork loin, beefsteak and turkey, all have less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. One 3.5-oz. serving of roast lamb leg contains 65 mg of sodium. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt or Swiss cheese, are low in sodium, as well. One cup of skim milk contains 125 mg of sodium.
You can eliminate excess sodium from your diet by forgoing extra table salt during cooking or eating. Avoid canned soups and pre-packaged meals that are often high in sodium and try to stick with fresh foods if possible. Many seasonings are low in sodium that you may add to foods while cooking to boost flavor. Seasonings such as chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, sage, red pepper, dill and chives are all low sodium seasonings.