Follow Your Diet
Following a heart failure diagnoses, you need to make the following 3 important lifestyle changes:
- Salt: Minimize salt consumption to less than 2 grams (2,000 mg) per day.
- Fluids: Drink less than 8 cups (64 ounces, 2 quarts, or 2 liters) per day.
- Alcohol: Consume one drink per day, if any
Other adjustments to your diet may ease your heart’s workload and help you feel better. Ask your care provider or dietitian about any specific guidelines or suggestions.
While limiting salt, fluids, and alcohol in your diet, add healthy foods to balance out. Eat the following in moderation:
- Fruits and vegetables – fresh or dried
- Low-fat, low-salt cheeses
- Cooking oils, like canola or olive oil
- Fresh fish, chicken, and turkey
- Lean cuts of lame, veal, pork, and beef
- Breads, cereal, grain, and other starches (potatoes, pasta)
Limiting Salt in Your Diet
It is generally recommended that you consume less than 2,000 mg of salt a day. To do this, follow a low-sodium diet. In addition to the guidelines assigned by your personal healthcare providers, include these habits into your new low-salt diet:
- Ditch the salt shaker. You can’t use it if it’s not there!
- Substitute other spices for salt in your cooking. Try other seasoning options like allspice, dill, lemon, onion, curry, pepper, and garlic powder. Ask your healthcare providers for suggestions if you want to try salt substitutes.
- Substitute fresh or frozen vegetables for canned foods. You’ll often find salt in canned foods.
- Rinse canned foods for 30 seconds. If you can’t find fresh or frozen substitutes for canned vegetables, you can reduce sodium intake by up to 30% by rinsing with water.
- Avoid processed meats. Hot dogs, salami, bacon, and other lunch meats are usually a very unhealthy source of salt.
- Keep away from salty snacks, like salted nuts, potato chips, and pretzels.
- Throw out headache or heartburn medicines that have sodium in the ingredient list
- Choose foods labeled “unsalted,” “no salt added,” or “low sodium.” More often than not, your favorite food are available in low-salt varieties.
- Read and compare food labels.
- Ask that your food be prepared with less salt (or no salt) when eating in restuarants.
Limiting Your Fluid Intake
To reduce fluid retention, drink less fluid! Keep it at or under 8 cups, of 64 ounces, a day. Just because you feel thirsty doesn’t mean your body needs more fluid, Try these alterntivesyour heart failure is to drink less fluid – only 8 cups a day (64 ounces). Keep in mind that feeling thirsty doesn’t mean your body needs more fluid. So, instead of drinking liquids when you’re thirsty, try these alternatives:
- Chewing gum
- Sucking on ice chips or hard candy
- Rinsing your mouth out with water
Limiting Your Alcohol Consumption
Why should you limit alcohol intake to one drink per day?
- It limits fluid intake and reduces strain on your heart.
- It prevents damage to the heart muscle sometimes experienced by those with more-than-moderate alcohol use.
Your one-drink limit allows one beer, glass of wine, or cocktail each day.