How Is a Salty Diet Related to Congestive Heart Failure?

Salty diets cause the body to retain large amounts of water, which exacerbates the buildup of fluids commonly associated with heart failure, states WebMD. Switching to a diet lower in salt helps the body retain less fluid and helps control blood pressure, swelling and difficulty breathing for those who have heart failure. Those who have heart failure should ingest no more than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day and less than 1,500 milligrams when possible.

Too much salt in a diet may make the body work much harder than it has to, which also can worsen congestive heart failure, notes the University of California, San Francisco. To create a diet that is lower in salt, buy fruits and vegetables and other foods that are low in salt. Such foods include poultry, fish, fresh meats, fresh legumes, and dry legumes. Those who are used to seasoning foods with salt can switch to seasoning foods with spices, herbs, herbed vinegar and fruit juices.

Those on a low-sodium diet should monitor labels for the sodium content and request low-sodium meals when dining out, notes UCSF. Many condiments, such as soy sauce and pickled condiments, are high in sodium as well, so those with congestive heart failure should avoid adding them.