The low salt diet is used for persons with diseases that affect fluid balance or where a decrease in body fluid volume will relieve symptoms of the disease. Conditions where control may be indicated are severe heart failure, impaired liver function, high blood pressure, and acute and chronic kidney disease.
A major study has found what many researchers have suspected for some time; while a low salt diet reduces your blood pressure, it isn't necessarily good for your overall health. In fact it may make things worse.
Dietary Salt (sodium) Intake
- "Normal" salt diet ... ... 1100 - 3300 mg/day
- "High" salt diet ... ... 4000 - 6000 mg/day
- "Low" salt diet ... ... 400 - 1000 mg/day
These diets are often used in the treatment of high blood pressure and some other types of heart, kidney and liver diseases. They are also used when you are taking certain prescription drugs that cause the body to hold fluids. Table salt is a major source of sodium, which is the water holding mineral of the body.
The amount of sodium required by our bodies to maintain good health is very small. It is much smaller than the amount we normally receive in our food and water. The body of a normal, healthy person easily gets rid of the excess sodium. It passes out in the urine. When the heart, liver or kidneys are not working properly the body may have difficulty getting rid of this extra sodium. This causes the body to hold onto more water and a swelling may develop. This swelling occurs mainly in the feet and legs. The condition is called edema. Some medicines, cortisone for example, may also cause the body to retain sodium and develop edema. The part that sodium plays in high blood pressure is less well understood. However, we do know that people whose diets are very high in salt or sodium are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Diets low in sodium help to control the condition.
How much salt should I have each day?
The average person in the United States consumes 2,500 to 5,000 milligrams of sodium a day, but an adult needs only 500 to 1,000 milligrams. Everyone needs some sodium, because it helps regulate fluid balance and muscle movement. Try to keep your sodium intake under 1,500 milligrams a day unless your doctor recommends a different limit.