Low-Salt Diet: A Must for Cirrhosis Patients
Aug 12 2012
Who doesn’t LOVE to eat, especially those delicious guilty pleasures! One of
the most treasured conveniences of our generation other than technology and the
internet is easy access to a diverse array of specialty foods and ethnic
cuisines, and of course, fast food. But if you are one of the many people living
with a health condition like cirrhosis, it may NOT be in your best interest to
indulge ALL of those fast food cravings. It is believed that the diet best for
you is a diet containing minimal salt.
Maintaining a low-salt diet helps people dealing with cirrhosis decrease. A
low-salt diet minimizes a person’s chances of developing complications such as
having severe edema (a buildup of fluid) in the abdomen and legs. Excess dietary
sodium or a sodium imbalance plays a significant role in causing edema. The
fluid buildup makes it difficult to breath and can cause infection.
Maintaining a low-salt diet is not as difficult as it sounds. There are
various ways to follow a simple diet plan that minimizes dietary sodium intake.
The recommended dietary daily sodium intake is 2000mg. Please
note that the guidelines are evolving; the recommendation by 2020 is a mere
1500mg per day of sodium. It is important to keep track of
your salt intake by knowing just how much sodium is actually in
the foods you are eating. Take note that in the United States,
a typical one day diet has approximately 4,000 mg of sodium. A teaspoon of salt
alone contains 2,000 mg of sodium. Start reading food labels and evaluate how
each dish you plan to eat could affect your day’s diet. If you need additional
guidance and/or support, consult a health professional to assess your current
diet and help you plan a low-sodium regimen.
Cook your food with less salt. Packaged foods as well as those foods from
restaurants are typically higher in sodium than fresh foods we prepare ourselves
in our own kitchens. The best option is to use fresh or frozen meats and
vegetables. If you must use canned, rinse canned vegetables very well and flavor
your dish with spices other than salt or soy sauce.
Finally, move that saltshaker off of your dining table! Out of sight out of
mind! Limit your salt use to during cooking only. This gesture of putting away
the saltshaker could be a vital step towards keeping your liver health in