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Action on Salt

Salt and Water Retention

Cutting down salt intake will help to reduce the amount of excess fluid in the body. When we eat too much salt, the body retains extra sodium which increases the amount of fluid in the body, outside of the cells. This increase in fluid allows the body to continue retaining sodium and fluid while excreting higher levels of sodium in the urine. Approximately 1.5 litres of fluid is retained in the body when we eat too much salt and this continues as long as a higher salt intake is consumed.

Those with heart failure, kidney damage and cirrhosis of the liver will particularly benefit from eating less salt. Those with idiopathic and cyclical oedema (common causes of fluid retention) can improve their symptoms by reducing their salt intake.

Fluid retention can occur on long journeys, particularly aircraft journeys, when sitting for long periods of time without exercise. This can cause fluid to build up in the legs and ankles. Reducing salt in the diet can help to alleviate this.

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