What is Sodium

Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal. Sodium is an alkali metal, being in group 1 of the periodic table. Its only stable isotope is Na. The free metal does not occur in nature, and must be prepared from compounds

Bertrand Bolek, MN, Nurse Practitioner – Adult, talks about why and how heart patients can restrict their salt intake.

Pamela Luehr, BSN, CCNC, Cardiovascular Nurse, discusses sodium reduction and heart failure recovery.

Crystal Higgins, Registered Dietitian, talks about how you can eliminate some of the salt in your diet by planning your meals ahead of time.

Sodium Reduction in Heart Failure Patients

It’s really important to watch your sodium intake when it comes especially to heart failure.

Fluid retention is one of the biggest issues that we have with heart failure patients. And we have the fluid that builds up in our feet, our legs, and our belly. And that makes you feel very full and bloated and uncomfortable, as well as the fluid that builds up in your lungs which makes it difficult for you to breathe.

As far as how much salt you should have in your diet, we do recommend a diet of less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium, recognizing that the average North American diet has about four to five thousand milligrams.

You know, you find most of our sodium is hidden in those processed foods. So things like processed meats or if it comes in a – we always say if it comes in a bag, a box, or is pre-packaged, it probably has more than 70 percent of the daily recommended allowance of sodium in it.

So really avoiding those pre-packaged products. Shop around the outside of the grocery aisle. Look for that fresh produce. If fresh isn’t available – fresh is always best – but if it’s not available, have a look down the frozen food aisle for the frozen veggies. And usually those have a lot less sodium than the canned products.

So if you’re looking for additional resources if you’re having a challenging time, you know monitoring the salt in your diet, talk to your family physician and ask for a referral to your local dietitian. They’re your best resource when it comes to learning how to read labels and reducing salt in your diet.

Presenter: Ms. Pamela Luehr, Nurse, Kelowna, BC

Local Practitioners: Nurse

Eliminate Salt in Your Diet with Meal Planning

So a lot of people can get stuck when it comes to sodium, because they just don’t know where to start. And one place you can think about is setting yourself up for success, and planning your meals, and planning your snacks so you have healthy options available.

And I think a lot of people get stuck because they’re on the go, and their reliance upon restaurants and fast foods, and convenient packaged foods that have lots of sodium.

So if you have that plan in place, you are more likely to make those healthy choices.

Presenter: Crystal Higgins, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

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