Recommended foods and foods to avoid for heart failure

Low-salt (low-sodium) foods are recommended for people with heart failure.

The basic foods from the food guide pyramid are preferred if they are prepared without salt. They include:

  • Milk.
  • Uncured meats.
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • Breads and grains.

High-sodium foods should be avoided. Examples of foods typically high in sodium include:

  • Smoked, cured, salted, and canned meat, fish, and poultry.
  • Ham, bacon, hot dogs, and luncheon meats.
  • Regular hard and processed cheese and regular peanut butter.
  • Crackers with salted tops.
  • Frozen prepared meals.
  • Regular canned and dehydrated soups, broths, and bouillon.
  • Regular canned vegetables.
  • Salted snack foods such as chips.
  • French fries, pizza, tacos, and other fast foods.
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, seasonings high in salt, ketchup, and other condiments, especially soy sauce.

Food from restaurants can be very high in sodium, especially fast food and Chinese food.

Organizations such as the American Heart Association have pamphlets and other publications that can help you maintain a low-sodium diet. For contact information, see the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Heart Failure.

Last Updated: August 25, 2008

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