Diet and nutrition

Your food choices are important. How? A diet low in sodium (salt) can improve your heart health.

When you eat foods that have a lot of sodium, your body holds, or retains, more water. The extra water in your body causes your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body.

This extra sodium can cause swelling in your body or make you feel short of breath.

You will have fewer heart failure symptoms 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.

Related resources

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/10/2015