Sodium and Chronic Kidney Disease

Sodium is a mineral just like calcium and potassium. Sodium is an essential nutrient, which means that our bodies need to have a certain amount in order to be healthy. Sodium has many important jobs in our body like managing the fluid or water balance, helps with the function of nerve impulses and muscles, and of course regulates blood pressure. Today let’s look at sodium and chronic kidney disease.

When your kidneys have reduced function, it is important to control sodium (salt) intake. Too much sodium can cause the fluid to stay on the body leading to edema or swelling in the feet, legs, hands or face and shortness of breath. But too much sodium can also cause our blood pressure to rise, and high blood pressure can cause further kidney damage. And too little sodium can make you dizzy, so it is important to find the balance with sodium and chronic kidney disease. Fore more tips and tricks about chronic kidney disease, check out this post.

Sources of Sodium and Chronic Kidney Disease

Most Canadians eat about 3600 mg sodium per day and don’t even realize it! In fact only 11 percent of sodium in the typical diet comes from the salt shaker. Over 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods such as cheese, deli meats pizza, sauces and soups. Packaged and ready-to-eat foods, fast foods and restaurant foods

With CKD many need between 1500 – 2300 mg sodium per day. Of course a renal dietitian can help you determine your sodium target. That 2300 mg of sodium is about the same amount as a teaspoon of salt. And remember it doesn’t really matter if its table salt, pink salt, himalayan or anything else, it all has about the same amount of sodium. But with table salt, you also get iodine which is another essential trace nutrients we get from our diet. So let’s learn a bit more about sodium and chronic kidney disease.

Label Reading for Sodium and Chronic Kidney Disease

Nutrition Facts Table for Sodium and Chronic Kidney Disease

The nutrition facts table is found on most food and drink packages and contains important nutrition information. One important piece of information that it contains is sodium.

When we read food labels, the first thing to look at is the serving size. Now remember, this is going to be what the nutrition facts table is made based on and is not necessarily the portion that you are going to eat. 

Next we want to find the sodium section on the nutrition facts table. Then we can use the % daily value to compare products, or determine if a product has a little or a lot of sodium. In general, 5% or less means there is a little for sodium, and 15% or more means there is a lot. Since we want to aim for 2300 mg or less per day, look for foods that have 10% sodium or less per serving. This is why label reading is important for sodium and chronic kidney disease.

Nutrient Content Claims

Sometimes the package will also have nutrient content claims. Be on the lookout as each meals something different especially with sodium and chronic kidney disease.

  • Free of sodium/salt (salt free, contains no salt/sodium) contains less than 5mg of sodium per serving
  • No added salt/sodium (without added sodium, no added salt, unsalted) a contains no added salt or ingredients that contain sodium
  • Low in sodium/salt (low sodium, low source of sodium) contains less than 140 mg per serving
  • Reduced in sodium/salt (lower in sodium/salt, reduced in salt, less salt) a contains 25% or less sodium than the regular product
  • Lightly salted a contains 50% or less sodium than the regular product

Ways To Flavour Low Sodium

Some of my favourite combinations of flavouring without salt are:

·  Paprika, garlic and onion powder for popcorn, potatoes, seasoning rice

·  Chilli powder, paprika, garlic and onion powder, cumin for group tofu, chicken, turkey in any Mexican inspired dishes

·  Garlic and onion powder, oregano, basil, black pepper for chicken, turkey, roasted vegetables or in any Greek or Mediterranean inspired dishes

·  Tumeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, pepper, red pepper flakes, clove for legumes, roasted vegetables or marinating meats or any curry or Indian inspired dish

For more ways to spice up your foods, check out this article.

Does Today’s Article Speak To Your Struggles?

If you’re looking to feel empowered and supported with your nutrition needs, and want to manage your sodium and chronic kidney disease The Kidney Connection is available to help you preserve your kidney function, support from me and a community of those living with CKD. 

If you’re looking for support with your nutrition and CKD, the doors are open and your spot is saved. Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

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