We are always discussing with our patients the need to limit their dietary sodium (salt) intake. When you have chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis, there is an interplay between the liver and the kidneys resulting in the formation of edema. Edema is the excess fluid that builds up under the skin and other places around the body. Edema can collect in the abdomen (ascites) or in the space around the lungs (pleural effusion).
Diuretics (aka water pills) force the kidneys to remove sodium in the urine. This removal of sodium in the urine is associated with an increase in urine production. As a result, the edema reduces, and swelling goes down. In situations like this, it is important to reduce the dietary intake of sodium. While the standard American diet has in excess of 4,000 mg per day, we suggest less that 2,000 mg/day, and often less than that – around 1,500 mg daily.
Eliminating high sodium foods is key. Avoid processed foods is important. The bulk of dietary sodium that we eat is found in processed foods.
Today, I’d like to discuss the five best foods to eat that are low in dietary sodium. Eating a diet low in dietary sodium can be beneficial to your health. In addition to controlling swelling and edema, it can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, and certain kinds of heart disease.
First on the list is fruits and vegetables. These are naturally low in sodium and are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They also provide antioxidants, which help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals.
Second, there are beans and legumes. These are a great source of protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. They are also low in sodium and provide an excellent source of energy.
Third, whole grains are a great food choice for those looking to reduce their dietary sodium. They are high in fiber and provide a variety of essential nutrients. They also contain complex carbohydrates, which can help keep you full and provide sustained energy throughout the day.
Finally, nuts and seeds are a great way to get healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals. They are also low in sodium and provide a great source of energy.
Eating a diet low in dietary sodium can be beneficial to your health. By including these five nutritious foods in your diet, you can make sure that you’re getting all the essential nutrients your body needs while also reducing your dietary sodium intake.
For more information about dietary salt, or an evaluation by our Registered Dietitian, contact us here.