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Heart Failure Online Manual

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Diet and nutrition

Diet and nutrition are important. How? A reduced-sodium diet can improve your heart health.

When you eat a lot of sodium, your body holds, or retains, more water to handle the extra sodium. This extra fluid causes your heart to work harder.

A diet high in sodium can be harmful. With heart failure, your heart cannot pump as well as it once did. A higher volume of water as a result of increased sodium increases the work of your heart as it pumps blood throughout your body.

You will have fewer symptoms of heart failure and you will feel better if you:

  • Limit the amount of sodium you eat to keep from retaining extra fluids.
  • Maintain a good weight for you.
  • Eat healthful, well-balanced meals.
  • Talk with your health care provider about the use of caffeine and alcohol.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-20-7

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 07/19/2008

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts