Printable Low Sodium Diet Food List

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Sodium is a vital mineral with numerous crucial functions in the human body. It is a mineral added to foods and is the main component of table salt. While it occurs in small amounts naturally in some foods, it is often present in higher quantities in processed foods.

Although it’s crucial to well-being, dietary sodium is sometimes restricted under certain circumstances.

For instance, a low-sodium regimen is usually recommended for persons with specific medical conditions such as blood pressure, heart failure, and kidney disease.

This review will examine why a low-sodium diet is crucial for some people, foods you can and can’t eat, the benefits of the diet, and some tips for this regimen.

What is a Low Sodium Meal Plan?

Sodium is a vital mineral in numerous crucial bodily functions such as blood pressure preservation, cellular function, electrolyte balance, and fluid regulation.

Since sodium is vital to life, your kidneys strictly limit its levels based on bodily fluids’ osmolarity (concentration).

What’s more, sodium is present in most foods you take, although foods such as fruits, veggies, and poultry have significantly lower amounts.

Plant-based foods, like fresh produce, typically have less sodium than animal-based foods, such as dairy products and meats.(1)

However, since it’s a preservative, sodium is most present in packaged and processed food such as bacon, crisps, and frozen dinners.

Another key contributor to sodium levels in the body is adding salt when preparing meals or as a seasoning just before munching.

A low-sodium diet restricts the intake of high-sodium foods. Well-being experts recommend this diet for people with high blood pressure or heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends keeping sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day. For reference, one teaspoon of salt comprised 2300mg of sodium, give or take.

When sticking to a low-sodium diet, foods typically high in sodium must be restricted or avoided entirely to maintain sodium intake under the prescribed levels.

Low-Sodium Foods

Dairy Products

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Milk, yogurt, and many other dairy products naturally have low sodium levels. But when it comes to butter or cheese, look for that written low-salt or unsalted.

In addition to supporting a healthy stomach, studies show that yogurt can lessen the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Plain yogurt naturally has low sodium levels, but flavored varieties can sometimes have salt or sugar included, so ensure you check the nutritional label.

Buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with fruits. Greek yogurt contains more protein and is great for heart health, too.

Dry Beans and Peas

Beans, lentils, and peas are all good sources of plant-based fiber and protein, which notably benefit heart health.

In addition, they have low-fat levels and no cholesterol whatsoever. Cooking legumes is recommended because they practically have no sodium at all.

Low-sodium or no-salt canned legumes can be a handy alternative. Therefore, pick for varieties indicating ‘low sodium’ on the label.

Moreover, you can drain the liquid inside the can or rinse it to decrease its sodium levels.


Fruits are naturally low in sodium and can be considered sodium-free for dietary purposes. For instance, apples, apricots, bananas, berries, grapefruit, and oranges are fruits with no sodium.

Not only are fruits a low sodium source, but they also comprise fiber, minerals, powerful antioxidants, and vitamins that support heart health; fruits offer natural flavor and sweetness to virtually any dish without adding salt or sugar.


Buy fresh or frozen beef, chicken, fish, or pork, which you can prepare and season yourself. Some fresh meats have added sodium solutions to enhance flavor and moisture.

If the meat has a nutritional label, pick the one with a sodium DV of 5% or less.

Herbs and Spices

Low Sodium Diet Food List

A range of good quality herbs and spices makes all the difference while helping you significantly decrease the amount of salt and sugar in your recipes.

This is due to herbs and spices naturally giving dishes a ton of depth and flavor.

Try using fresh herbs you might not be used to, such as adding sage to food or mint in salads to get vibrant flavors.

Study your herbs and spices rack and devise a meal based on spices you would not typically reach for.

Unsalted Seeds and Nuts

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Nuts offer a crunchy texture and contain plant-based protein. In addition, new studies reveal that people who commonly eat nuts have a lower risk of heart disease.

Go for the raw nut and unsalted varieties if possible. If giving up salted nuts is daunting, try mixing salted and unsalted nuts to help you reduce your sodium intake.

Some super-nutritious nuts comprise omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health and are worth including in your mixed recipe.


Low Sodium Diet Food List

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Both fruits and veggies comprise vital nutrients that can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, and others naturally contain sodium, though in very low amounts.

Studies indicate that boosting your veggie consumption, especially the leafy, such as Broccoli and spinach, can offer you the most notable benefits of heart well-being.

How you prepare your meals matters as well, so try and air fry, roast, or steam your food as opposed to deep-frying; also, go easy on salt addition after preparing meals.

Whole Grains

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Some of the whole grains you can take on this diet include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, freekeh, millet, and quinoa.

Whole grains are dietary staples in most parts of the world, and they are becoming massively popular in Western countries. Moreover, they tend to be processed less than other common grains.

Most whole grains have little or no sodium content, making them a great choice for a low-sodium regimen.

To maintain low sodium, prepare foods with plain water without adding salt.

Regarding marinades and pre-done seasonings, sodium levels can be high, so it’s best to make your own if possible.

However, some seasonings have blends and marinades free from salt, making them ideal staples for your heart-friendly pantry.

Sodium Foods to Avoid

Low Sodium Diet Food List

Low Sodium Diet Food List

The following foods have high sodium levels and should be avoided by people on a low-sodium regimen. They include:

1. Baking Mixes: High-sodium cake, waffle, pancake, or pizza dough mixes.

2. Boxed meals: Mac and cheese, pasta, rice meals, etc.

3. Canned and salted products: Beans, fish, fruits, meats, pasta, veggies, etc.

4. Cheese and dairy products: buttermilk, cheese sauce, cheese spreads, cheddar, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, salted butter, etc.

5. Condiments and sauces: Commercial tomato paste, gravy, salad and salsa dressing, etc.

6. Fast foods: Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, hotdogs, pizza, etc.

7. Frozen dinners: Frozen meats, frozen samosas, frozen pizza, etc.

8. High-sodium baked products: Croutons, salted bagels, salted rolls, etc.

9. High-sodium sides: boxed au gratin potatoes, hash browns, rice, stuffing, etc.

10. Pickled veggies: Pickles, olives, sauerkraut, etc.

11. Processed meats: Bacon, brawn, ham, lunch meats, salami, sausages, smokies, etc.

12. Salty snacks: Salted cakes, salted crackers, salted crisps, salted nuts, salted pretzels, etc.

13. Salty soups: All canned and packaged soups.

14. Seasoning: salt and salt blends.

Although some foods, such as veggies and unprocessed meats, naturally contain little sodium, this is irrelevant compared to the amount of sodium in commercially prepared products.

Consequently, the best way to avoid high-sodium foods is not to eat fast foods, buy snack foods, or buy packaged dinners.

Tips for a Low-Sodium Meal Plan

If you’re sticking to a low-sodium regimen, preparing ideal meals and seasoning them can be pretty challenging.

However, there are a couple of easy ways to make your meals flavorful while restricting salt intake.

Here are a couple of tips for preparing food on a low-sodium diet:

  1. Use lemon extract instead of salt.
  2. Prepare your meals using fresh herbs instead of salt.
  3. Try using new spices in your meals.
  4. Use citrusy juices and olive oil for bright and zesty salad dressings.
  5. Eat unsalted nuts garnished with various herbs.
  6. Try and have fresh produce in your meals and snacks.
  7. Try preparing hummus using dried chickpeas and add garlic and some herbs.
  8. Make low-sodium marinades using garlic, ginger, honey, olive oil, etc.

Advantages of a Low Sodium Diet

It Can Help Boost Overall Diet Quality

Most unhealthy foods have very high sodium levels. Fast foods and packaged products are also filled with salt and tend to have unhealthy calories and fats.

Frequent intake of these foods has been connected to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.

When you’re on a low-sodium diet, these high-sodium foods are off-limits; as a result, your overall diet quality may improve.

Can Decrease Blood Pressure

As illustrated above, a low-sodium diet can help reduce blood pressure. Research has proven that shifting to a low-sodium diet can cause small yet important shifts in blood pressure, particularly for individuals with high levels.

A review of some studies indicated that a small reduction in salt consumption for a month or more led to considerable declines in blood pressure levels in individuals with both high and average levels.

In participants with HBP (high blood pressure), the average diastolic and systolic blood pressure drop was 2.8mmHg and 5.40mmHg, respectively.

In contrast, individuals with typical levels experienced a 2.42mmHG decline in systolic blood pressure (the uppermost number of a reading) and 1mmHg in diastolic blood pressure (the lowermost number or a reading).

Can Help Reduce Cancer Risk

High-salt diets have been allied to specific kinds of cancer, including that of the gut. An examination of some studies comprising more than six million people found that each 5-gram increase of salt per day from processed foods increased cancer risk by 12%.

Studies have revealed that high-sodium regimens can injure the gut’s mucosal lining and enhance the growth of HP (helicobacter pylori) bacteria and inflammation, which can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

On the other hand, a regimen that lacks high-sodium processed foods and comprises lots of fruits and veggies is linked to a lower risk of contracting stomach cancer.

Potential Risks Associated with a Low-Sodium Diet

Big health organizations such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) prescribe that adults don’t take more than 2300mg of sodium per day.

The American Heart Association suggests that people with high blood pressure or risk of heart disease aim for no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.

A low-sodium diet can lessen blood pressure in persons with elevated levels, and high-sodium regimens advance the risk of contracting stomach cancer.

However, evidence of other advantages of reducing this vital mineral is confusing.

For instance, although low-sodium diets are regularly used to correct heart failure, some studies show that restricting sodium intake can hurt overall well-being.

Some studies indicate potential risks with very low sodium intake, but the broad recommendation for the general population remains to limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day, with an ideal limit of 1,500 mg for certain groups.

In addition, it’s noted that a low sodium intake can negatively affect heart health.

A review of some studies reveals that high and low salt consumption was linked to more risk of heart disease and mortality.

Moreover, low salt intake has been connected to other unpleasant health effects.

Low sodium intake can cause increased cholesterol and triglycerides, hyponatremia (very low sodium in the bloodstream), and insulin resistance.

While avoiding high amounts of sodium is good for your overall well-being, it’s unnecessary for most healthy people, especially when following a balanced diet comprising whole foods.

Printable Low Sodium Diet Food List (PDF)

Low Sodium Diet Food ListSodium Foods to Avoid
Dairy Products: Milk, plain yogurtBaking Mixes: High sodium cake, waffle, pancake, pizza dough mixes.
Dry Beans and Peas: Beans, lentils, peasBoxed meals: Mac and cheese, pasta, rice meals, etc.
Fruits: Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, grapefruit, orangesCanned and salted products: Beans, fish, meats, pasta, veggies, etc.
Meats: Fresh or frozen beef, chicken, fish, porkCheese and dairy products: Buttermilk, cheese sauce, cheese spreads, cheddar, cottage cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, salted butter.
Herbs and Spices: Cumin, oregano, thyme, turmericCondiments and sauces: Commercial tomato paste, gravy, salad and salsa dressing.
Unsalted Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamia, peanutsFast foods: Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, hotdogs, pizza.
Vegetables: Asparagus, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger, green beans, squashFrozen dinners: Frozen meats, frozen samosas, frozen pizza.
Whole Grains: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, freekeh, millet, quinoaHigh sodium baked products: Croutons, salted bagels, salted rolls.
Pickled veggies: Pickles, olives, sauerkraut.High-sodium sides: Boxed au gratin potatoes, hash browns, rice, stuffing.
Processed meats: Bacon, brawn, ham, lunch meats, salami, sausages, smokies.
Salty snacks: Salted cakes, salted crackers, salted crisps, salted nuts, salted pretzels.
Salty soups: All canned and packaged soups.
Seasoning: Salt and salt blends.

If you don’t have the time to prepare low sodium meals daily, check out Low Sodium Frozen Diet Foods and Low Sodium Fast Foods articles.

Low Sodium Diet Variations

Variations of Low Sodium Diets
7 Day Low Fat Low Sodium Diet Plan
Low Sodium Low Potassium Diet Plan
Low Sodium Cardiac Diet Plan
Low Sodium Diet for Hypertension
Low Sodium Dash Diet Plan
Low Sodium Low Carb Diet Plan
Low Sodium Diabetic Diet Plan

Bonus Low Sodium Recipes

Skillet Zucchini Recipe

Low Sodium Keto Recipes

Final Thought

As you can see, low-sodium foods can alleviate blood pressure, kidney disease symptoms, and overall diet quality.

They can also decrease the risk of contracting stomach cancer; however, too little sodium can have negative impacts. For this reason, the low-sodium diet is recommended for only a select group of people.

See Also

High Cholesterol Food List

High Cholesterol Low Fat Diet Food List

DASH Diet Smoothies for High Blood Pressure

Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Arthritis

Anti Inflammatory Diet Recipes

Best Intermittent Fasting Apps

3 Day Military Diet Plan

1300 Calorie Meal Plan

No Sugar Diet Food List

Current Version
January 12, 2022
Written By
Damla Sengul
March 20, 2024
Updated By
Guido Forti