Nutrition Guide For Heart Failure
Following a low-sodium diet and drinking less fluid can help you feel better and allow your heart failure medicines to work better. A low-sodium diet may even keep you out of the hospital. It is not an easy diet to follow. You may find eating with heart failure is a bit of a balancing act. While you dont want to eat too much of high sodium foods, you have to be sure to eat enough to maintain good nutrition.
Nutrition and Heart Failure
The recommended salt intake is 2,000 mg of sodium per day.
Salt is a mineral that is made of sodium and chloride. It is found in food, table salt and sea salt. Sodium acts like a sponge and makes the body hold water.
Eating too much sodium when you have heart failure can cause fluid buildup in your legs, stomach and lungs and force you heart to work harder.
Most of the sodium we eat is hidden in foods. Even food that does not taste salty can contain a lot of sodium.
You should restrict the amount of sodium you eat to 2,000 mg or less each day. Try to keep the sodium content of each meal to less than 600 mg. This helps spread out your sodium intake over the day to prevent excessive fluid retention.
You can take a few basic steps to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet:
- Dont add salt when you cook or at the table
- Learn to read food labels
- Choose more foods that are lower in sodium
- Limit high sodium foods
Reading a Food Label for Sodium
Follow these easy steps to read the label:
Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference
Following recommendations about diet, exercise and other habits can help alleviate heart failure symptoms, slow your diseases progression and improve your everyday life. In fact, people with mild to moderate heart failure often can lead nearly normal lives as a result.Making some of these lifestyle changes can be easier said than done. But working these changes into your daily routine can make a real difference in your quality of life.
Important lifestyle changes may include:
Lower Fat And Cholesterol
Studies have shown that the rate of heart failure is lower in people who follow a DASH diet , which centers on consuming polyunsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, low amounts of saturated fats, and fruits and vegetables.
Saturated fat and cholesterol can lead to other cardiovascular issues like atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries. To reduce that risk, eliminate butter, shortening, and margarine, and consume limited amounts of olive, peanut, and canola oils.
To lower your fat intake, avoid fatty cuts of meat, remove the skin from poultry, and consume more fish. Replace high-fat dairy with low-fat or nonfat options, eat whole grains for their high fiber content, and limit condiments and salad dressings that are high in fat and sodium. When preparing your food, avoid frying, and choose to bake, broil, poach, boil, or steam instead.
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Congestive Heart Failure And Diet
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My doctor told me that I have congestive heart failure and I have to change my lifestyle, including my diet. What kind of diet should I be on?
ANSWER: When patients have congestive heart failure, their heart isnt able to manage fluid well, and it builds up in the body. This fluid can cause shortness of breath, swelling in the abdomen or legs, and fatigue. If this occurs, diuretics, or water pills, often are prescribed to remove the excess fluid. Your health care provider also will recommend that you restrict your sodium, or salt, intake. Why is this important? Sodium makes your tissues act like a sponge, hanging on to water. This extra water retention, on top of the fluid retained from your heart not working properly, will make it harder for your water pill to work, and you likely will keep feeling poorly.
So, what does it mean to restrict your sodium? The American Heart Association recommends 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of sodium per day for heart failure patients. Most Americans far exceed that recommendation.
How will you know how much sodium you are getting in your diet? First, be aware that any added salt will add up quickly. One teaspoon of table salt is over 2,000 mg of sodium. And it doesnt matter if its Himalayan salt, sea salt or kosher salt all should be avoided.
Foods To Eat And Foods To Avoid So You Can Stay Balanced
Story by: Norton Healthcare on May 30, 2018
If you have congestive heart failure, you know that having the right uid balance is everything when it comes to feeling well. Too much salt makes you retain uid, and then the heart has to work harder and you feel bad. Limiting salt can help you feel your best. Here are some tasty ways to replace high-sodium foods.
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Best: Colorful Fruits And Veggies
Fresh produce is the backbone of a heart-healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories and salt. The more colorful your plate, the better. Berries are packed with fiber and plant nutrients. Green veggies like kale, broccoli, and spinach are good sources of vitamins C, E, and folate. With orange fruits and veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe, youâll get your fill of beta-carotene and fiber.
Cooking And Eating At Home
When preparing food and eating at home:
- Instead of cooking vegetables in butter, try boiling, steaming, roasting, or lightly sautéing with olive oil.
- When cooking poultry and fish, baking, broiling, stir-frying, sautéing, or grilling are preferred over deep-frying.
- Take the saltshaker off the table, as even a little shake can add a lot of sodium to your meal. Infuse flavor into your meals with herbs, spices, garlic, onion, and citrus zest and juices.
- Feel free to adjust recipes to accommodate your diet. This includes adding less salt than is called for, swapping out butter for a healthier fat, such as olive oil, or using whole grains instead of refined grains.
- If possible, cook from scratch or semi-scratch. This will help you decrease the prepackaged foods you use, which are typically high in sodium, fat, and/or added sugars.
- Choose fruit in place of a traditional dessert for a sweet way to end your meal.
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Congestive Heart Failure : What Is It
Before understanding the best ways to reduce the risk of an unwanted hospitalization, you first must understand a disease. Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure , is not something that occurs suddenly like a heart attack. Heart failure is a condition that develops gradually over time. The heart keeps pumping, but its not pumping blood throughout the body as efficiently as it once did. Congestive heart failure may involve one part or multiple parts of the heart. There are many symptoms to look out for, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While CHF may shorten lives, a good care plan implemented by a team of clinicians, caregivers, and the patient themselves, can extend and improve the quality of life. Chapters Health System has a continuum of care suited toward CHF patients. Vice President of Medical Services, Dr. Stewart Stein, explains them in the following video:
While a team of trained nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors can certainly help, there are several simple things caregivers and patients can do at home. With that in mind, here are the top 10 tips to avoid hospitalizations for CHF.
Skip The Junk Food And Fuel Up On Heart
While snacking is often associated with unhealthy foods, like chips or cookies, munching on healthy foods can sate your hunger and control weight, which is essential for a healthy heart.
Snacks are a great opportunity to add in more heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, Kennedy says.
Fuller recommends choosing foods with protein and fiber, two nutrients that will help keep you full until your next meal.
Snacking on nuts like almonds, cashews, or walnuts is a great heart-healthy option, she says. A study published in the MarchApril 2021 Journal of Clinical Lipidology of 39,000 women found that those who ate nuts a couple of times a week had a lower risk of death from heart disease.
Other heart-healthy go-to snacks to keep on hand are fruits, like
- Fresh veggies and hummus
Snack foods to avoid include those that are processed, or those that contain refined grains, added sugar, or unhealthy saturated or trans fats, such as:
Instead of thinking of a snack as a time to indulge, Kennedy says, try to think of it as a time to get in another serving of a healthy food.
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Can I Use Salt Substitutes On The Cardiac Diet
Check with your doctor before using any salt substitutes. These products contain large amounts of potassium that your doctor may not want you to have. In particular, people with kidney problems or those taking potassium-sparing diuretics need to take care with potassium. Other salt substitutes, such as Mrs. Dash, do not contain potassium and are safe for everyone.
Phrases like low sodium and reduced saturated fat refer to specific measurements. Heres a key to understanding those terms:
- Sodium free or salt free means less than 5 milligrams of sodium.
- Very low sodium means 35 milligrams of sodium or less.
- Low sodium means 140 milligrams of sodium of less.
- Reduced sodium means at least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product .
- Lightin sodium means at least 50 percent less sodium than the full-sodium product.
Saturated fat claims:
How do I know what foods are the right amount of salt or saturated fat? Here are a few tips for reading saturated fat labels.
- Saturatedfat free means less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat and less than 0.5 grams of trans fatty acids.
- Lowin saturated fat means1 gram of saturated fat or less and no more than 15 percent calories from saturated fat.
- Reducedsaturated fat means at least 25 percent less saturated fat and reduced by more than 1 gram of fat compared with the full-fat product.
Diet And Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump efficiently and does not deliver enough oxygen to your body. Many diseases lead to CHF, such as high blood pressure and diseases of the heart and kidney.
Treatment for CHF helps to prevent its complications and relieve its symptoms.
The heart does not have to work as hard when you make some changes in your diet. If you eat too much salt or drink too much fluid, your body’s water content may increase and make your heart work harder. This can worsen your CHF. The following diet will help decrease some of your symptoms.
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Foods To Avoid When You Have Congestive Heart Failure
Subtract certain foods to add more years to your life
Congestive heart failure is claiming a life every minute. The risk of heart failure is aggravating among people mainly due to sedentary lifestyles and poor diet choices.
Foods that trigger heart failure are those that increase fluid retention, contribute to blood sugar problems or lead to obesity. However, if you have heart failure, you can improve the quality of your life by eliminating certain foods from your diet.
Congestive heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped working. Rather, it means that your heart works less efficiently than normal. It occurs when blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate. As a result, your heart may not pump enough oxygen to meet the body’s needs.
Congestive heart failure can occur due to many reasons. The most common causes that can aggravate your risk of congestive heart failure are:
Alternative Healthy Eating Index
The alternative healthy eating index is a nine-component index. It includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, soy protein, cereal fibre and multivitamin use. It is low in trans-fat and alcohol. It also has high ratios of polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids and of white to red meat.
In a large prospective study, a healthy lifestyle including a high AHEI score was associated with a 77 % reduction in HF incidence. Large prospective studies focusing on AHEI score alone observed a 52 % reduction in the risk of HF in women and 28 % reduction in HF risk in those with pre-existing CVD or diabetes over 4.510-year follow up. One of these studies was a prospective analysis of two combined trials of antihypertensive medication. Higher AHEI score had a protective effect regardless of which medications were prescribed or the presence of co-morbidities . This result suggests that diet can be protective in the absence of pharmacology but can also act synergistically. This is noteworthy, as an additive benefit of nutrition to pharmacology was reported in one of the first reports of the MedDiet and CVD.
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What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure is a condition in which the chambers of your heart dont fill with enough blood or your heart isnt strong enough to pump sufficient blood from these chambers to your bodys tissues.
Its commonly caused by heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and most often occurs in older adults and people who are obese .
As a risk factor for heart disease, high cholesterol can also increase your risk of developing heart failure.
Heart failure symptoms may include :
- shortness of breath
- swelling in your ankles and feet
- swelling of your abdomen
- rapid weight gain from fluid retention
- fast heart rate
Your doctor may review your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and perform tests like a chest X-ray or heart ultrasound to diagnose heart failure .
Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk With Healthy Eating
Eating a variety of foods is beneficial to our health and can help reduce our risk of disease . Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups, in the amounts recommended. Not only does this help you maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to one to 3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking.
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
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What Foods Should Be Avoided With Congestive Heart Failure
You should avoid foods that are high in sodium, including many cheeses, deli meats, smoked meats and fish. You should also avoid foods that are high in fat and cholesterol, such as rich desserts and processed foods. Also, avoid alcoholic beverages if your heart condition is associated with heavy drinking.
Foods To Avoid With Congestive Heart Failure
If you have heart failure, youâll quickly learn that to feel your best, the food and beverages you donât consume may be as important as those you do.
âYour organs arenât getting the proper nourishment and oxygen that they need,â says Leslie Beck, a registered dietitian in Toronto. You may find that you tire more easily or that you get short of breath.
Also, âwhen your heart is having more difficulty pumping blood, the body has trouble getting rid of that extra fluid and water.â If that happens, you may notice that your legs and ankles look and feel more swollen, she says.
Along with taking your medications and getting regular exercise, avoiding or cutting back on some types of food and drink can help guard against that uncomfortable swelling, says Barry Greenberg, MD, who directs the advanced heart failure treatment program at the University of California San Diego Health.
âThey are really important in improving long-term outcomes,â he says. âThe payoff can be substantial, and itâs absolutely worth doing.â
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Avoiding Flu And Pneumonia With Vaccinations
Flu and pneumonia pose greater dangers for people who have heart failure than for healthy people.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that keeps your body from using oxygen as efficiently as it should. Your heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood through the body. If you have heart failure, you should avoid putting this extra stress on your heart.
Ask your doctor or another healthcare professional about getting a yearly influenza vaccine and a one-time pneumococcal vaccine.
Both vaccines are generally safe and seldom cause any severe reactions. Its much riskier not to be vaccinated against flu and pneumonia.You might have some pain or swelling at the site of the shot , but this will go away after a few days.
Read more about flu and pneumonia.