Sodium, in small amounts, is an essential component of your diet. It’s an electrolyte, which means it’s critical for the maintenance of homeostasis in the body and enabling a variety of bodily functions to function properly and steadily. It also aids in fluid and mineral balance by assisting with muscular movement. If we don’t get enough salt, we desire it. Sodium is calorie-free, which is why adding extra flavor to your meals may be appealing.
However, consuming too much salt can have damaging consequences. One of those outcomes is potentially increasing your chances of heart disease. If you’re at risk for or have heart failure, it’s essential that you keep track of how much salt you consume. According to a recent study published in The Lancet Journal, lowering your salt intake might help protect patients with heart failure from fluid accumulation and negative results.
The researchers conducted a study named SODIUM-HF, which took data from an open-label, international, randomized controlled trial. The study included people aged 18 and above who lived in 26 locations across six nations. These eligible patients had persistent heart failure and were taking an optimally tolerated medical therapy—a medicine or treatment that causes no severe side effects. Patients were allocated to one of two groups: usual treatment as prescribed by local standards, or a low salt diet with less than 100 millimoles (ml) each day.
The researchers then set out to see whether a decrease in dietary salt lowers the occurrence of additional clinical events. Between March 24, 2014, and December 9, 2020, they assigned 806 patients to a low-sodium diet or usual care. Patients in the low-sodium diet group experienced 2% fewer cardiovascular-related hospitalizations than those in the usual care group after the study was finished.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, restricting salt in your diet can help you minimize extra fluid around your lungs, heart, and legs. If you have too much fluid in your body, your heart has to work harder as a result. Blood pressure might rise as a result of this.
How can I limit my sodium intake?
The Cleveland Clinic has some suggestions to help you reduce your sodium intake and manage or perhaps treat your heart failure:
- Choose foods with a high amount of fiber. These will help you in keeping or attaining a healthy body weight.
- Fresh foods with little or no salt added are ideal.
- If you don’t have fresh veggies, use frozen or canned ones that are low in salt. Before cooking, rinse the vegetables to remove salt.
- Replace and/or eliminate high-sodium ingredients in your favorite recipes.
- Avoid nonperishable and readily available foods with a long shelf life.
- Look for meals that have less than 600 milligrams of sodium on the Nutrition label.
- Cured and cooked meats and deli foods should be avoided.
- How do I know if I’m experiencing heart failure?
Shortness of breath, tiredness, or edema (swelling) in the ankles, legs, feet, abdomen, or neck veins are signs of heart failure. Coronary artery disease (CAD), is the most frequent form of heart illness, and heart attacks. Other issues include diabetes mellitus, obesity, high blood pressure, and valvular heart disease.
If you’re having one or more of these difficulties, it’s probably time to reduce salt consumption and see your doctor.