Everyone should follow a heart-healthy diet and watch their salt intake. This is especially true for people with heart failure (HF).

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a balance of protein, dairy, vegetables, grains, and fruits. Your body needs many different nutrients that come from what you eat. No one food has them all. This is why a balanced diet is so important.

You should also limit unhealthy foods that have a lot of saturated or trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. Some examples are butter, hot dogs, candy, pizza, and other processed meats and food.

Studies show that one diet – the Mediterranean diet – can help prevent heart disease. It may even lower your risk of death from heart disease causes. This is a heart-healthy diet. It is rich in olive oil, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It limits saturated fats and red meat.

Limit Salt Intake

Salt is made up of two chemicals: sodium and chloride. Sodium is important to your body’s health. It helps muscles and nerves work properly. It also helps keep the body’s fluid level balanced. Too much sodium in your body may make you retain too much fluid.

Most US adults consume too much salt. On average, they eat about 3500 mg of sodium every day. A teaspoon of table salt has about 2300 mg of sodium.

For people with Stage A or B HF, too much sodium may raise the risk of having HF symptoms, a heart attack, or stroke. For people with Stage C or D HF, the relationship between salt and these risks are less clear. Your doctor will look at your HF stage, symptoms, and other factors to decide how much to limit your salt intake.

Experts say that most people with Stage A or B HF should eat less than 1500 mg of sodium per day. People with Stage C or D HF should usually eat less than 3000 mg of sodium per day. This is because so many Americans consume a lot more than that every day.

The Bottom Line

Everyone should eat a heart-healthy diet and watch their salt intake. People with HF have many factors to consider when managing their health. Talk with your doctor before you make any big changes to your diet or salt intake.

Make your heart happy by eating healthy and watching your salt!