Eating healthy and limiting intake of sodium is an important part of treating heart failure. Follow your physician's instructions about diet and the total amount of sodium you should have daily. Most heart failure patients are limited to 2000 mg of sodium a day (speak with your doctor for his or her recommendation). In order to monitor the level prescribed by your physician it is extremely important that you learn how to read nutrition labels and calculate sodium content in food that you prepare.
This is a typical food label.
See that the sodium level listed is 300 mg for one serving.
It is very important to remember that nutritional labels are per serving.
For this particular item there are 4 servings in the package. If you were to eat the entire package you would have consumed 1200 mg of your daily allowance of sodium! That could be a critical error if you are not careful.
Correctly calculating the amount of sodium in your diet is an important skill to develop for heart failure patients.
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What's in a tuna fish sandwich?
When preparing your own food, you must figure in the sodium content of all the ingredients. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) provides classes for educating patients in how to calculate sodium content. Attend the monthly Heart Failure meetings at the Palo Alto Clinic or meet with the heart failure nurse to learn more about it.
As an example here is the sodium content of a tuna fish sandwich made with sodium restricted foods:
|1 can low salt tuna||serving size 2 oz., 35 mg sodium|
servings per container: 2.5 x 35 mg = 88 mg sodium
|Light mayonnaise||serving size 1 tbs, 90 mg|
Recipe calls for 1/3 cup (= 5 1/3 tbs) x 90mg = 480 mg sodium
|2 stalks celery||70mg sodium|
|2 green onions||0mg sodium|
|Sweet pickle relish||serving size 1 tbs = 90mg sodium|
|Total for recipe||728 mg, makes two sandwiches so 1/2 of recipe is 364 mg sodium|
|Finishing the Meal|
2 slices of low-sodium bread
|5 mg sodium|
|Milk, 8 oz||140 mg sodium|
|1 cup of grapes||2 mg sodium|
|Total for entire meal||516 mg sodium|
The same meal without sodium restricted foods would have come to about 1025 mg of sodium.
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