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Dtn Oghuan Unuigbe (RDN, LD), Dietician & Nutritionist, LECC

In the management of hypertension (or a heart condition) and fluid retention, sodium restriction is very important seeing that sodium absorbs water and puts even more strain on the arteries of the heart, sodium also makes it difficult for the kidneys to remove or regulate fluid in circulating in the system thereby resulting in swelling {oedema}.

A sodium restricted diet is simply a diet used where there is generalized oedema or fluid retention relating to heart conditions, hypertension, renal disease and toxemia of pregnancy or liver cirrhosis.

a. Limit all foods made with whole milk .e.g., Ice-cream, chocolate milk, condensed milk, milk shake, yoghurt etc.

b. Limit commercially produced fruit juices, glazed and canned fruits, bananas and pineapples

c. Avoid all organ meat {kidney, liver, heart etc.}, bacon, sausages and foods preserved in oil and salt {sardine etc}

d. Avoid butter, pastries, salad creams and dressings except low fat dressings and vinaigrette {which should be used in moderation}

e. Limit {to the barest minimum}, all vegetables which are of palm kernel sources or palm oil derivative {kings, turkey, PKO, palm oils etc.

f. Food preserved with salt should be limited or properly cleaned in hot water to remove salt before use

g. Avoid eating commercially made foods {fast food} and pastries

h. Limit food made with excess oil {ogbono soup, egusi soup, banga soup}

i. Limit salt and seasonings used in cooking

j. Avoid all fried foods

a. Natural seasonings {garlic, ginger, black pepper, onion, locust beans, turmeric etc} 

b. Water is the best option for staying hydrated this can be sweetened with fruits, by adding a slice of fruit {cucumber/strawberries/orange/lime/mint leaves} to a cool glass of water, fruits can also be juiced or made into a smoothie, hibiscus tea {zobo} and pure cocoa can also be taken 

c. Replace all teas with decaffeinated teas such as Greeen Tea, Tetley decaf or PG decaf 

d. Lean meat {meat without fat}, goat meat, skinless chicken, scaly fish {titus, croacker, salmons, tuna, hake, panla, cote, express}, eggs {not more than 3 per week boiled or poached} 

e. Skimmed milk – powdered or evaporated {marvel, Dano slim, 3 crown etc}, low fat yoghurt

f. Mono or Poly unsaturated vegetable fat can be used while cooking but in a minimal amount {Canola oil, sunflower seed oil, olive oil etc}. Your meals MUST always be accompanied by vegetables and eat at least 2 fruit portions per day.

g. Apart from putting a restriction on certain food types, method of preparation is also of key importance. Food preparation methods that do not increase the amount of oil and sodium in a particular meal is encourages, some of these cooking methods are:
Boiling/ Steaming
These methods also protect the nutrients present in meals.