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It seems like everything in the grocery store is loaded with salt except for fresh fruits and veggies, which we do eat whenever possible.
I buy low salt or no salt varieties of everything (which are rare) but she is still getting too much salt and has edema in her legs.
Any suggestions?

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I hope that you do not think that a low sodium diet is a cure for heart failure, it is only a step in healthy living to prevent further problems. Keep working with the doctor because swelling will continue to occur. Is the person mobile? Walking will help with reducing edema. So does foot elevation and prescribed medications
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I am really struggling with this sodium issue too. Mom is on fluid pill and still has the fluid. It isn't going down at all. Now they are telling us to cut sodium. First of all a month ago it was super low and she spent two months in the hospital and then swing bed. Like most elderly she is super picky. On top of that she has an ostomy and can not have nuts leafy veggies and nor would she if she could. She likes pancakes for breakfast and tuna salad/crackers for lunch. Because we have sitters we use prepackaged meals. There just isn't time to cook healthy meals and to be honest she would not eat it anyway. We have tried several times. I am sure this sounds bad but she is 82 yrs old COPD and has to have 24 hr care. At this point I wonder is it going to make that much of a difference?? Very frustrated. this thing is super hard.
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Great suggestions, inmate 21.

The local library may have these books for check out. if not, ask them to get them for you through inter library loan.

A note regarding bread machines- if you are a thrift store cruiser you can find an almost new one there.
When I decided to purchase one, I found one for $10. almost immediately. Since they were in my radar, I started seeing them in so many thrift stores. some even had new wrapping on.
it seems these are gift items that a lot of people just don't want to be bothered with.
if the machine does not have directions with it, your research librarian at the local library can probably find the instruction book online. Or post a question on this forum.
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My husband has been on a very low sodium (500mg a day) for about 5 years now since his heart surgery. One of the first things we did was buy a good breadmaker and start baking our own low sodium bread. The "Low Salt, Lowest Sodium Baking Book" by Donald A. Gazzaniga has some great recipes. In fact, go to Amazon and search anything by Donald A. Gazzaniga and you will find some great very low sodium cookbooks for those living with 500 mg per day or less restrictions. We use alot of curry when we cook..lots of pepper and spices. My mother, who is 77 and lives with us, likes all the low sodium foods... but she salts everything! That is to say, she likes the curry and all the spices and pepper mixes. Can't get her to give up her salt shaker, though.
Kroger has low sodium bread. Stay away from lunch meats and anything processed. Watch out for chicken too. Alot of chicken is brined in salt, so even raw chicken can have over 200mgs per serving. If you check the label you can find it for 70mgs. We use alot of ground chicken and turkey. If you want to make it look like ground beef, Walmart has this stuff called "browning sauce" that does a pretty good job disguising turkey and chicken. Kroger brand taco shells are low sodium. My husband makes his own taco sauce and we use ground turkey browned with the browning sauce for filling. There are a few brands of cheese that are low sodium. Hellofagood Cheddar is one. Mozzarella balls are low sodium too.
You can buy 'no salt added' catsup and tomato sauce and paste. We find pizza crusts at Big Lots that are low sodium. Also, Whole Foods has a variety of canned beans that are no salt added. Eden. You can search "no salt added" on Amazon and find alot of items you can search for at your local grocery. There are frozen vegetables at Kroger that are very low sodium, and frozen french fries too.
Start with a cookbook by Donald A. Gazzaniga and work outwards from there. There are maybe 10 different blends of spices in the Mrs Dash line. Haven't found one yet I don't like. Also, IGA has 'smokehouse' and 'worchester' black pepper. I love this stuff on chicken. You'll be surprised at how good food can taste once you start leaving out the salt and adding other spices.
Also, turkey breast cutlets are really good when grilled like steak and seasoned with the worchester pepper.
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It really isn't that hard or that horrible to follow a low sodium diet. The National Institute of health can get you started with their 7 day Dash Diet menu plan.

Remember, the problem with high blood pressure is that it can do end organ damage, eg. make your heart stiff and kill your kidneys.

You can count your sodium, but most people just wont do that. Or you can throw the salt and processed foods out of your house and pattern your meals after the DASH program.

Some doctors refuse to take on patients unless they agree to follow the DASH MENU Plan.
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Cook whatever you like, do not add salt, do not eat processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, sausages, canned meats, etc.) and read the labels...you will be surprised how much sodium is in a serving of cottage cheese...etc
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Get fresh or frozen vegetables - microwave them, and as flavoring I always used Mrs. Dash different flavors and Low Salt (you find them everywhere in the spice section). You can also add a sprinkle of shredded cheese over the veggies after they are done and give it an extra 10 -15 seconds. Avoid processed meats, and as been mentioned before - read the labels on canned food. Even if it says "low sodium" you will be surprised how much is in it. I cooked for years without salt - the flavoring was always added after the cooking was done. I used to take one day and cook several meals - and then froze them in meal size portions - makes it easy for the rest of the week and you have choices.
The edema question has to be answered by your doctor. He may prescribe a diuretic that does not deplete the potassium level. My husband took them for years without any complications.
I hope this helps.
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You can do it. Just read all the labels and you will learn how much sodium is in everything and that will make it easier to make meals. Mom can only have 1200 a day of sodium and I find myself watching everything she takes in but sometimes you just have to hope for the best try to do your best. Mom is also on a duretic so we have to watch how much fluid intake as well. I did not know until and er trip for her with a stroke that when on a duretic they should be on a low liquid intake. I have learned so much and it seems hard at times but just do your best and all will be fine. Like you said everything has salt and yes it does. I was surprised to see things that have salt and I had no idea. Just add up her daily salt intake and you will be surprised it's not as much as you would think. I do know that soup unless homemade is the worst for salt intake and if they have high blood pressure and edema soup is the first thing to cut out. If mom has little salt intake for a day I will give her soup in a can and not worry about it. Just don't do it everyday. I found myself going nutso trying to figure out this salt intake water intake and it's been a year and a half and now we are just doing the best we can and it's working. Good luck take care
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My grandma does take Furosemide (diuretic) and I try to get her to drink more water and other drinks (but she hates it). Her legs still swell and weep too. Wal-mart carries a few low sodium or no salt varieties but they are hard to find and I don't drive much, so our choices are limited. I found a few low salt and no salt items on Amazon too. Thanks for suggestions.
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Preparing your own meals is definitely the best way to have low sodium. I hate to cook but have found I can cook different meals & freeze them. You can cook just the meats & freeze then microwave frozen veggies, rice, etc. Check with the dr about water pills & hose (perscription, about $100). I have had one pair for about 7 years & only use when needed during daytime hrs--hand wash & line dry.
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I buy low salt, it has ninety percent less sodium but has the iodized dietary need. As ba8alou said buying fresh food allows you control over the salt. Stay away from processed hams, sausages, soups, the stuff that elderly love and is easy to make for them. Increase potassium intake, like bananas, natureal diuretics, and drink more water.
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If you buy uncooked, meat, fish, veggies, fruits, rice, pasta, you only get as much salt as YOU add with cooking--which can be none. Just a low sodium diet may not be enough, she may need a diuretic (water pill) to address the edema.
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You can try cooking/preparing meals with cream of rice or cream of wheat. I'm not sure of the sodium content though. Then you can add your own flavoring to it. Fresh fruits, blend it and pour it into the wheat to add flavoring.

Soups are great. Father has high blood pressure and mom cooked bland food all our lives. Chicken soup with mostly water, cabbage, carrots, etc... On the side, she made a dipping sauce that was of vinegar and soy sauce or lemon with vinegar... for us who are not on a low-salt diet...to dip the chicken/meat into it.

However, I would just go and Google to get more ideas. Because I'm sure that there are people out there who must not have any salt in their diets. And you can get some great ideas - and substitute it to your taste.
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