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Low sodium diet: Why is it important to moderate salt intake and how to do it?

The salt-free diet is used as a treatment in case of edema (excessive accumulation of liquid) and in the control of high blood pressure or hypertension (elevated blood pressure) that is sensitive to sodium restriction.

Low sodium diet: Why is it important to moderate salt intake and how to do it? Low sodium diet: Why is it important to moderate salt intake and how to do it?


Sodium is a necessary mineral for the body that is naturally present in most foods, and is also added voluntarily to food as salting, preservative, and flavor enhancer.

Sodium, in a low-salt diet, is customary to measure in milligrams. Also, the most commonly used form of sodium is kitchen salt, which contains 39% sodium.

  • In other words, 1,000 mg of sodium chloride, common salt, contains 390 mg of sodium, whose symbol is Na, as can be found on food labels. Sometimes the terms sodium and salt are confused and misleading.
  • A teaspoon of kitchen salt provides 2,300 milligrams of sodium. According to this, the usual daily intake of sodium would range between 4,000 and 6,000 mg of sodium.
  • However, it would be advisable not to exceed 3,000 mg of sodium per day.
  • If a low sodium (low sodium) diet is necessary, 1,500 or 2,000 mg per day would be sufficient; this is equivalent to 5,000 mg (= 5 gr) of common salt per day.

Likewise, the excessive consumption of sausages, canned foods, salty snacks and prepared dishes should be monitored, since these can increase sodium intake by up to 10,000 mg per day.


  • Excess sodium sometimes causes fluid retention in the body that can cause edema, and an increase in the work of the heart and kidneys with the consequent increase in blood pressure.
  • Also, sodium restriction can sometimes produce effects similar to those produced by diuretics, and a drop in blood pressure.
  • However, not all hypertensives respond to a low-salt diet, although in general, indeed, a vast majority do. It should be noted that lowering blood pressure significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.

You have to MODERATE or AVOID the consumption of some FOODS

In a low-salt diet, you must moderate or avoid the consumption of these foods:

  • Sausages or cold cuts. Frankfurters. Cheeses. Serrano ham and cooked ham (contrary to popular belief, it contains similar amounts of salt as Serrano ham).
  • Envelope soups. Broth cubes. purees
  • Salty snacks, popcorn, salty nuts, olives, chips.
  • Preserves, prepared dishes, sauces. Smoked fish.
  • Some foods that are considered sweet can also be high in salt, such as industrial pastries, buns, cookies, cereals, etc.
  • Fruits in syrup. Sparkling water and carbonated soft drinks.
  • Also some medicines presented in the form of effervescent tablets may contain sodium; If you take them, consult your pharmacist.


  • Do not use salt when cooking.
  • Consume the natural flavor of food by steaming or "papillote" cooking, wrapping the food in baking paper (cooking with water dilutes the flavor of the food).
  • Use flavor enhancers such as acids (vinegar, lemon); aromatic herbs (basil, oregano, fennel, rosemary, parsley, thyme, etc.); spices (pepper, paprika, curry, cinnamon, etc.).
  • Use tastier olive oils. Garlic and onion are also good flavor enhancers.
  • If you cannot completely do without salt, do not use it when cooking, and put a salt shaker on the table: one with small holes.
    Read food labels, as there are several additives used in various foods that contain significant amounts of sodium.

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