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The CHF diet was developed for people who have congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is a heart condition in which the heart muscle has been damaged and is no long able to pump blood effectively or efficiently through the body. As a result, fluids "back-up" in the body resulting in such symptoms as swelling (edema) of the extremities and other parts of the body. Fluid may also back up into the lungs and result in shortness of breath. The CHF diet is combined with a multifaceted plan that helps the body to eliminate excess fluids, decrease swelling, minimize shortness of breath, and decrease the workload on the heart. The CHF diet restricts salt, sodium and high sodium foods. Because salt (sodium) makes the body retain fluids, the CHF works to eliminate excess fluid by reducing sodium intake to 2000 - 3000 mg per day. The amount of sodium restriction depends on an individual's particular case and severity of CHF and will be determined by your health care provider. A restriction in fluid intake may also be needed in severe cases.
A CHF diet generally focuses on avoiding processed, canned, pre-packaged and condiment foods, which are often higher in "hidden" sodium than people realize. There are, however, many canned, frozen, and pre-packaged foods that are labelled "no salt added" or "low sodium" that make sticking to a CHF diet easier. People on the CHF diet need to become good "label readers" in order to really understand how much sodium is in the foods they eat. Recommendations include eating foods that have less than 350 mg of sodium per serving, not adding extra salt to foods at the table, and cooking all foods and carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, and hot cereals, without adding extra salt. Salt substitutes may be used with the consent of your health care provider to add a salty flavour to food, but salt substitutes can be dangerous for some people. This is because salt substitutes replace sodium with potassium, which can result in unsafe, high levels of potassium in the body for some people on some medications. It is recommended that you check with your health care provider before using salt substitutes. Spices and herbs are also encouraged to add flavor to food in place of salt. In addition, the CHF diet recommends that people with CHF eat no more than 100% of recommended daily totals of fat and cholesterol, as well as sodium. This type of diet can also be of benefit to people with conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and other forms of heart or vascular disease. Healthy diets also encourage the consumption of a wide variety of fresh foods from all the foods groups that are low in sodium, saturated fats and trans fats and added sugars. These foods include fresh fruit, vegetables, lean sources of protein, low fat-dairy products, whole grain carbohydrates, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. Any diet may have the potential to be harmful to some people, so consultation with a health care provider before starting any diet plan and exercise program is recommended.
Other names for this diet (CHF diet) include:
Other diets similar to CHF diet include:
Conditions associated with CHF diet include:
The following foods may be restricted or excluded from CHF diet:
The following foods may be focused on as part of CHF diet:
The following are potential risks or complications of the diet (CHF diet):
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