HomeHealth articleslow salt dietWhy Is Low Sodium Diet Important?

Sodium is important for health then what is the need for a low sodium diet? Glance through the article below to know more about the low sodium diet.

Written by

Dr. Zeba Jabeen

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At August 30, 2022
Reviewed AtAugust 30, 2022

What Is Sodium?

Sodium is counted as one of the imperative minerals required by the body to perform its various functions. It is naturally found in different foods like poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, etc., and is a major component of table salt. So, it is often used synonymously with salt. It is highly imperative for good health, but its excess intake predisposes a person to many critical health issues like cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. Its water-retentive property may also cause abnormal fluid collection in different parts of the body like hands, legs, ankles, belly, and lungs. Increased sodium intake may even aggravate the symptoms in cases of liver, heart, or kidney diseases.

Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the need for a low sodium diet came up.

What Is the Appropriate Sodium Intake?

As per the U.S Dietary Reference Intakes, sodium's recommended dietary allowance (RDA) has not been established. However, the adequate intake (AI) of sodium for men and women 14 years of age and above, including pregnant women, is 1500 mg per day.

According to Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR), 23,00 mg per day is the maximum quantity that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases in men and women 14 years of age and above, including pregnant women.

What Is a Low Sodium Diet?

The body needs only around 1/4 teaspoon of salt every day. However, one teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium. Sodium is already present naturally in foods but during processing and preparation, an extra amount is added. Several foods that do not even taste salty may contain a high quantity of sodium. Excessive amounts of sodium are a part of many canned, processed, and packaged foods. It is also a part of many fast foods and those that are served at restaurants.

Sodium is responsible for controlling fluid balance in the body and also maintains blood volume and blood pressure. Consuming too much sodium can give rise to blood pressure and can cause fluid retention.

When planning to follow a low sodium diet, the target is to have below 2,000 milligrams of sodium daily. Restricting sodium and fluid consumption helps prevent and control the fluid present around the heart, lungs, or legs. When an extra quantity of fluid is carried, it causes the heart to work harder and may even elevate the blood pressure.

A low sodium diet is more than removing the salt shaker from the dining table.

What Are the Guidelines For a Low Sodium Diet?

The guidelines that can be followed for a low sodium diet are:

  • The first and foremost is to eliminate the salt shaker and avoid the extra addition of salt while having food.

  • Avoid having additives like garlic salt, onion salt, broth mixes, soy sauce, MSG, meat tenderizers, teriyaki sauce, barbeque sauce, olives, pickles, pickle relish, croutons, bacon bits, etc.

  • Limit or avoid fast foods and processed foods. Check for the nutritional information or take a look at the label of the package for the sodium content.

  • Prefer using fresh ingredients and foods with no added salt.

  • For most recipes, natural salt replacements can be used and the salt can be deleted.

  • Orange, lemon, lime, pineapple juice, or vinegar can be tried as a base or to give tart flavor to meat marinades.

  • Strictly avoid packaged convenience foods like canned soups, vegetables, pasta, and rice mixes, frozen foods, instant foods, and gravy sauce mixes.

  • Choose frozen meals that carry only 600 mg of sodium or less.

  • Have fresh, frozen, no-added-salt canned foods, and low sodium foods like lunch meats.

  • Opt for seasoning or spice blends with no salt, instead, fresh herbs, onions, or garlic can be used.

  • Do not include a salt substitute without checking with the doctor or dietitian first, to avoid possible drug or nutrient interactions.

  • The American Heart Association advises being aware of and limiting the “salty six”, which are:

    • Bread, rolls, bagels, flour tortillas, and wraps.

    • Cold cuts and cured meats.

    • Pizza.

    • Poultry.

    • Soups.

    • Sandwiches.

  • Read food labels and use the information to aid you in making the best low-sodium choices. Food labels are prepared according to the U.S. government’s National Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Nutrition labels and an ingredient list are mentioned on the majority of foods, so the healthiest item can be easily picked up.

  • Cook your own food whenever you can.

  • If you choose to buy sodium-containing canned foods then give them a rinse before eating them like beans, tuna, and vegetables. This decreases some of the sodium in the food.

  • Choose unsalted or low-sodium nuts, seeds, and snack products like chips and pretzels. Carrots or celery sticks can be consumed instead.

  • Take a look at your condiments. Most condiments hold sodium so when too many condiments are used their sodium content can add up. Select light or low sodium condiments, use oil and vinegar for salads instead of bottled dressings, and add only a small quantity of seasoning from flavoring packets rather than adding all the contents.

  • Decrease the portion size. Less food quantity means less sodium. Cook smaller portions at home and eat less when dining out. Select smaller sizes of food split the food item with a friend, or take home a part of your meal.

  • Go for lower-sodium options at restaurants. Request them to prepare your meal without table salt and that sauces and salad dressings can be served ‘on one side,’ then have less of them. You can also ask the chef for nutrition information on various food items and then select options that have a low sodium content.

  • To ensure that you are meeting your specific calorie needs, and requirements for daily vitamin and mineral intake, a registered dietitian should be consulted. He can provide personalized nutritional education, frame the general guidelines to aid you to meet your needs, and help you to follow a personalized plan.


The low sodium diet came as a preventive and precautionary measure for all and especially for those suffering from cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, etc. With the increasing trend of readymade and ready-to-eat food items and sedentary lifestyles; the low sodium diet should be followed by almost everyone except hypotensive patients. However, such dietary changes should be adopted only on the recommendation of a registered doctor or a dietician.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop


Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on

low salt diet

Ask a Wellness Expert online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: Wellness medicine is not aimed to replace the services of your treating physician or allopathy medicines. Our site's information is to those who are willing to take responsibility for their health, being fully aware that the content published herein would not qualify as a prescription or specific medical advice. If users use the information and stop prescribed medication without their physician's consent, they bear full responsibility for their actions, and iCliniq-Wellness bears no responsibility for the same. Information on Wellness medicine should not be misinterpreted as a cure for any illness, as our body is complex and everyone reacts differently.