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What Foods Are Good for Low Sodium Levels?

What Foods are Good for Low Sodium Levels

Dietary changes can, of course, have heaps of health benefits, such as weight loss and improved digestion. However, some trendy diets like the Whole30, paleo and keto, or intermittent fasting can cause your sodium levels to drop. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms, such as tiredness, nausea, low energy levels, headache and muscle cramps. So, what foods are good for low sodium levels?

To increase your sodium levels, consider eating foods, such as grilled, smoked meat and fish; sausages, canned meat, cheese, tuna in brine, salted nuts, etc. You can add salt to your fresh salad, stews or soups, as well. Last but not least, electrolyte drinks can also help you remedy any mineral deficiencies, including law sodium levels.

Read on to find out more about what causes low sodium levels and how to adjust your diet to prevent side effects.

Key Takeaways

  • Low sodium levels are often caused by strict dieting over a long period of time.
  • Excessive exercise, drinking too much water, or the use of diuretics can also cause your sodium levels to drop temporarily.
  • Serious medical conditions, like hyponatremia, are also associated with decreased sodium levels, which can be addressed only by health professionals.
  • Food, naturally high in sodium or such with added salt, as well as additional supplements, can raise low sodium levels that are not due to a health condition.

What Can Cause Low Sodium Levels?

The normal range for blood sodium levels is 135 to 145 (mEq/L). Anything below that can result in discomfort and unpleasant symptoms. Although, the main cause for seriously low sodium levels is a medical condition called hyponatremia, there are other reasons for your sodium levels to drop temporarily.

Let’s explore those in more detail below:

  • Restrictive diets:

Regular fasting and diets that limit the consumption of processed foods, dairy products, such as cheese, and fast food can result in low sodium levels. The keto, paleo and Whole30 diets are a good example.

  • Excessive exercise and physical exertion:

Prolonged physical activity can cause EAH (Exercise-associated hyponatremia), where the symptoms include decreased sodium levels.

  • Excessive water intake:

Drinking too much water can dilute sodium content in the blood. Hence, athletes should pay attention to the quantity of water their drink during exercise.

  • The use of diuretics:

It’s important to maintain balanced sodium levels to prevent side effects, so the use of diuretics should be done under professional supervision.

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Foods Naturally High in Sodium: What to Consume And What to Avoid

Cheese on a Plate


Seafood is a natural source of sodium. This is because the ocean is naturally salty, and seafood like shrimp, crabs, fish, etc., absorb sodium from the water as they grow. For instance, 100 grams of fresh shrimp without any additives and seasoning contain about 250 mg of sodium.

The content in canned or frozen seafood is even higher because they have sodium-rich preservatives and added salt for taste. For instance, 85 grams of frozen shrimp contains 800 mg of sodium.


Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but it’s one of those foods with a very high amount of sodium. While making cheese, salt is added to milk because it helps preserve and enhance its taste.

100 grams of cottage cheese contains almost 350 mg of sodium, and the same amount of processed cheese contains 1400 mg of sodium. Sodium content in processed cheese is even higher because manufacturers add more salt to enhance taste, preserve it for the longest time as well as improve its texture.

Pickles And Olives

The natural taste of olives is quite bitter; therefore, they are cured or packed in salt water or brine. This procedure increases the amount of sodium in olives. Similarly, bringing is an important part of pickle making. Salt is added to pickles not simply for taste but to increase their shelf life.

A single dill pickle spear can contain up to 300 mg of sodium, and just five small olives can contain 100 to 200 mg of sodium.

Soy Sauce And Other Condiments

Condiments like soy sauce, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup contain the most amount of sodium. Soy sauce contains the highest amount of sodium, with 902 mg of sodium in just one tablespoon.

Similarly, one tablespoon of ranch dressing contains 164 mg of sodium, and a tablespoon of ketchup has 167 mg of sodium. Other condiments, such as barbeque sauce, mustard dressing, etc., have an increased amount of sodium, and people restricting their sodium intake must stay away from these condiments.

Dried & Processed Meats

A lot of salt is added to processed or dried meat to preserve them for the longest time and give them a rich flavor. For example, one ounce of beef jerky has 620 mg of sodium or 27% of RDI.

Note: Understandably, high-sodium foods are not necessarily very healthy. Therefore, you should not eat them excessively. You can resort to the above list if you need a quick fix to raise temporarily decreased sodium levels.

Related: How Much Sodium on a Low-sodium Diet Can You Have?

List of Foods High in Potassium

Foods High in Sodium and Potassium

Potassium is another essential mineral that helps with the electrolyte balance in the body. Also, if you’ve eaten too much high-sodium food, potassium can help neutralize the effects of sodium.

Here is a list of foods that are high in potassium:

  • Bananas
  • Sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Oranges
  • Dried foods like raisins, prunes, dates, etc.
  • Cooked broccoli & spinach
  • Tuna
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Fruit juices like grape, orange, and prune juice.
  • Mushrooms

How Do You Raise Your Sodium Levels?

People, who experience symptoms, due to temprarily losing sodium in their blood, such as nausea, fatigue, headacke and muscle cramps can do the following:

  • Limit their water intake and have electrolyte drinks instead;
  • Have a salty snack of their choice;
  • Rest for a few hours to minimize symptoms;
  • Take over-the-counter medication to relieve nausea and headache;
  • Seek medical assistance if symptoms persist.

Note: Please, remember that hyponatremia is a serious medical condition, which cannot be addressed without the attention of a medical specialist.

What Fruit Is High in Sodium?

Sodium-rich Fruits

Fruits are rich in various minerals and vitamins, including sodium. Daily intake of high-sodium fruits can be a great way to provide your body the sodium it needs without causing any potential harm since there are no added salt or preservatives.

The following is a list of fruit that is high in sodium:

  • Melons
  • Mammee apple
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Mango
  • Pears
  • Casaba melon
  • Purple and yellow passion fruit
  • Mulberries

Incorporating these fruits into your diet is not only healthy but also super delicious. You can give packaged high-sodium snacks a miss and have a bowl of fresh fruit instead to keep your sodium levels in check. You can add them in your breakfast cereal, have them with pancakes, or make a fruit smoothie.

Related: What Foods Are Low in Sodium? Make Healthier Choices

What Foods Are Good for Low Sodium Levels? FAQs

Q: Can You Increase Sodium Levels by Eating More Salt?

A: Eating more salt may help increase your sodium levels, but it’s not the only way to treat the issue.

Q: How Can I Increase My Sodium Levels Naturally?

A: Eating more vegetables and fruits that are high in sodium, as well as cheese, may help increase sodium levels naturally. Having more seafood is another way to boost your sodium levels.

Q: Is a Sodium Level Of 128 mEq/L Bad?

A: Yes, sodium levels below 135 to 145 mEq/L are bad and could be a sign of hyponatremia that needs medical attention.

Related: What Can You Eat on a Low Sodium Diet? The Exhaustive List


Electrolyte imbalance and a significant drop in your sodium levels can be caused by excessive water intake, prolonged physical activity, fasting or following a very restrictive diet over a long period of time. On that note, certain medical conditions, such as hyponatremia, are also associated with low sodium levels.

Temporary loss of sodium in the body can be remedied by adding salt to your diet or eating naturally high-sodium foods. Electrolyte drinks and supplements can also help with restoring mineral deficiencies.

However, if you have serious symptoms like vomiting, confusion and/or severe headache, seek medical assistance straight away.