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A Low-Sodium Meal Plan

Adopting a healthy, low-sodium meal plan can help lower blood pressure and lead to improved cardiovascular health. A balanced low-sodium meal plan allows for foods from every food group, while limiting processed foods and calling for healthier alternatives to salt, MSG and other high-sodium condiments and ingredients. For maximum health benefits, supplement your healthy eating plan with regular exercise.

Identification

The goal of a low-sodium diet is to reduce sodium intake to a heart-healthy level. Sodium, in appropriate levels, plays an important role in regulating blood sugar and blood volume, as well as in muscle and nerve health. A low-sodium diet provides a maximum of 2,300mg daily. However, the American Heart Association recommends that your diet contain no more than 1,500mg per day 2.

  • The goal of a low-sodium diet is to reduce sodium intake to a heart-healthy level.
  • However, the American Heart Association recommends that your diet contain no more than 1,500mg per day 2.

Factors

A Low Sodium 1800-Calorie Diet

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Sodium occurs naturally in small amounts in foods, and most dietary sodium is added to foods during processing, according to the National Institutes of Health. Most of the sodium in your diet comes from salt.

Components

The DASH diet limits sweets such as jelly, candy and sweetened beverages to five servings per week. Opt for unsalted margarine, low-sodium cheese varieties and other low-sodium condiments, rinse canned foods prior to cooking and season foods with spices rather than salt when cooking, advises NHLBI.

Samples

Daily Sugar Intake Based on a 1200 Calorie Diet

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The NHLBI provides one week's worth of low-sodium menus online with exchanges for 2,300mg or 1,500mg total sodium content. The menus are based on a 2,000-calorie DASH diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 also lists serving recommendations for the DASH diet at various caloric levels, starting with a 1,600-calorie meal plan.

  • The NHLBI provides one week's worth of low-sodium menus online with exchanges for 2,300mg or 1,500mg total sodium content.
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 also lists serving recommendations for the DASH diet at various caloric levels, starting with a 1,600-calorie meal plan.

Considerations

The American Heart Association reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S 2. Lowering your sodium intake is an important factor in improving cardiovascular health. Dietary recommendations endorsed by the American Heart Association align with those included in the DASH plan at the 1,500mg level 2.

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