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Low salt diet


Also listed as: Low sodium diet, Diet, low sodium
Related terms
Author information

Related Terms
  • Diet, low sodium diet, salt, sodium.

  • A low sodium diet has been shown to significantly reduce an individual's chance of developing coronary heart disease. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are no adverse effects associated with a low sodium diet,
  • Adults need less than 2,400mg of sodium per day, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This amount could fit into a teaspoon. Most Americans eat about four or five times the amount they need. Table salt is just one source of this mineral in the American diet. Almost every non-fresh food purchased at the grocery store contains added amounts of sodium, which are disproportionate to the body's level of need. Such an overuse of this mineral has serious medical ramifications.
  • Sodium is crucial for a proper fluid balance in the body and the healthy functioning of muscles. However, most Americans consume significantly more of this mineral than is necessary, or even healthy.
  • Salting food or purchasing high sodium products is not necessary to receive adequate amounts of this mineral. Americans receive enough sodium in their diets by eating a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and milk without any additives.

Theory / Evidence
  • The NIH places a strong emphasis on the reduction of salt intake as a means of preventing, as well as recovering from, coronary heart disease.
  • The NHLBI notes that sodium intake must be at or below 1,500mg per day in order to fully benefit from a low sodium diet.


Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. National Blood, Lung, and Heart Institute: Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet. 28 July 2008.
  2. National Institutes of Health: Statement on Sodium Intake and High Blood Pressure. 28 July 2008.
  3. National Institutes of Health: Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. 28 July 2008.
  4. USDA: Dietary Guidelines for 2005. 28 July 2008.

  • Most Americans add excessive sodium to their diets by using table salt. It is recommended that individuals wishing to adopt a low sodium diet taste their food before adding salt.
  • Many food products also offer low sodium alternatives. Soy sauce and salad dressing are foods that are packaged with lower sodium levels. Patients should consider using fresh vegetables and meats, rather than canned or frozen ones, to a recipe when cooking
  • Some people consider the adoption of a low sodium diet a culinary adventure. An individual may wish to experiment with spices, such as red pepper, garlic, turmeric or cumin.
  • A variety of low salt cookbooks are available to help guide patients through the process of cooking dishes.
  • It is recommended that individuals read the labels of prepared and canned foods to check for sodium content.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that patients take care to maintain a healthy intake of potassium, even as they work to lower sodium consumption.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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