OSF Saint Francis Medical Center

Peoria, Illinois

Cut Salt, Add Flavor!

Who should follow a low sodium diet?

Anyone with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

Benefits of a low sodium diet:

  • Helps prevent buildup of extra water in your body.
  • Decreasing blood pressure lowers stress put on your heart, kidneys, and liver.
  • Even if you take a pill for blood pressure or a water pill (diuretic) to remove fluid, it is still important to have less sodium in your diet.

How much sodium should I eat?

  • A lower sodium diet is 2,000-3,000 milligrams (mg) per day.
  • It may be harmful to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

General Guidelines to reduce sodium . . .

  1. Avoid using the salt shaker at the table.
  2. Avoid food with salt you can see, such as chips and crackers, or buy “no salt added” or “low sodium” products.
  3. Limit the instant and processed food you eat, such as: instant hot cereals, lunch meat, hot dogs, sliced cheese, frozen meals, canned soup, and boxed or other canned foods.
  4. Limit the amount of smoked, cured or pickled foods you eat, such as: ham, bacon, pickles, and sauerkraut.
  5. Include more fresh foods in your diet like fruits, vegetables, lower sodium nuts/beans/seeds, plain meats, milk and yogurt.
  6. Try salt-free seasonings like Mrs. Dash®, garlic powder, onion powder, or herbs like basil and oregano.
  7. Read food labels to see how much sodium is in the foods you eat.

Watch this video to learn more!



Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2022). Low Sodium Nutrition Therapy. Nutrition Care Manual. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/client_ed.cfm?ncm_client_ed_id=121

Heart Failure Society of America. (2016). How to Follow a Low Sodium Diet. HFSA_Module_2_2022.pdf

Heidenreich, P.A., Bozkurt, B., Aguilar, D. Allen, L.A., Byum, J.J., Colvin, M.M., Deswal, A., Drazner, M.H., Dunlay, S.M., Evers, L.R., Fang, J.C., Fedson, S.E., Fonarow, G.C, Hayek, S.S., Hernandez, A.F., Khazanie, P., Kittleson, M.M., Lee, C.S., Link, M.S., Milano, C.A.  (2022).  2022 AHA/ACC/HFSA Guideline for the Management of Heart Failure:  A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines.  Circulation. 145(18), e895–e1032. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001063

Khan, M.S., Jones, D.W., Butler, J. (2020). Salt, No Salt, or Less Salt for Patients With Heart Failure? The American Journal of Medicine.  133(1), 32-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2019.07.034