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.

Quiz: Do You Understand Sodium Reduction?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

You should aim to consume no more than 3,000 mg of sodium per day.

Explanation:
Your healthcare provider will probably recommend that you consume no more than 1,500 - 2,000 mg of sodium per day.
2

Herbs and spices can be a good alternative to salt .

Explanation:
Rather than salt, season your food with herbs, spices and seasonings such as Mrs. Dash.
3

Sodium is regulated by your liver.

Explanation:
Sodium is regulated by your kidneys. It helps control your body’s fluid balance, maintain muscle function and send nerve impulses.
4

Eggs are high in sodium.

Explanation:
Eggs are naturally low in sodium.
5

Draining and rinsing canned vegetables can cut the sodium by up to 40 percent.

Explanation:
Canned vegetables and beans are generally high in sodium. By draining and rinsing them, you can reduce that sodium by up to 40 percent.
(Answer all questions to activate)

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. Local Dietitian.

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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