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If your Na intake is too high, you could have elevated blood pressure, and also see an increase in your weight tied to retained water. Read about my high Na pickle experience below.

Daily Sodium Maximum 2,300mg (2.3g)

What should I eat to get minimum Sodium content, and not wreck my daily calorie budget?

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High Sodium Data Mined USDA Database
Sodium Range - 500mg/100g to 38,000mg/100g vs Cal-Index

What you see in the image on the left is total USDA recommend Sodium for one day. The challenge is tied to not eating foods that have a very high salt content, and use salt for light seasoning.

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This is a High Sodium data mined version of the USDA database that includes 1605 High Sodium selected food items. The Excel spreadsheet and .csv files of this database can be found in the Download tab. We learned with eight months of the Carnot diet data that Fiber is important to watch, but it is not necessary to track just do best to pick foods that will help get it over 20g per day.

It is possible on a 1,200 to 1,500 calorie that has a Cal-Index average of 0.60 you will average about 2,300 grams of food per day. The average salt content is near flat over all Cal-Index's (summary
Table ), but if you take average all foods from 0-3.0 it is 282 mg. or about 6,000 mg/day. Even if you assume Cal Index is between .5 and 1.0 mean is 176 or about 4,000 mg/day.

With high NA intake two things happen, 1. Your Blood volume with increase and will retain water; that means your weight may transiently go up a few pounds. 2. You brain will also release hormones that will constrict blood vessels and your blood pressure will likely increase. So whats the solution. My solution was to simply stay away form very salty foods. Pickles are great as a snack, but the pickles you buy in the store are likely done in 15% brine. Pickles do not fermit well below 5% salt brine, and most are 15%. One pickle at 15% brine can be you Na intake for a day. I make my own pickles in a one day using 2.5% brine and white vinegar - they are crunchy fresh, taste great - wonderful snack (see

Good idea to sort the database and just be aware of high Na content foods, reduce what you can. It will be difficult to lose weight and also aggressively manage Na, but good idea to review with your doctor.

The histogram to the left is a plot of the 1605 highest Na foods in the USDA data base of 7,907 foods. The statistical summary at the bottom shows that the average for this 1605 group of foods is over 1092mg of Na per 100 grams of food, compared to the average of all food about 282mg. In other words if you look at the full
USDA database, and sort on Na tab, can find 6,302 foods with low Na levels below 250mg. The scatter plot to the left shows that high Na foods are randomly distributed with peaks at 1.2 and 3.5 Cal-Index. Na content does not have a significant correlation to the Cal-Index. As result we need to identify high Na foods and be cautious.

We created this searchable data base to make that search easy. We list the USDA's milligrams of Na per 100g of food as well as the Cal-Index. We have added three additional columns that make selection easy. We include number of calories per milligram of Na for each food. If you sort on that column, a low number is good and a high number is not too good.

In the next column, we calculate the number of calories to meet the USDA 2,300mg DRI minimum each day. Again if you sort on that column, a high number is not great, and a low number is what we want. You can see when sorted that about 400 of the 1008 items would consume an entire 1,200 calorie per day budget to meet the Fiber DRI. Well known that nuts have High Fiber content, but you would need to

The final column on the right calculates the total grams of the food required to meet the USDA DRI 30g of Fiber each day. We include that number so you can eliminate silly options like all of the Herbs (Rosemary, Sage, Basil etc..) all have very high Fiber content, but you probably are not going to make a meal with 80g of Basil.

Some of my immediate Winners:

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Pickles and Pickled Vegetables - 1208mg /100g Cal-Index 0.11
A pickle weights about 80-100g but only represents 11 calories. If eat two you have exceed USDA DRI for NA - The solution is to make pickles that have 1/5 that load (2.5% Na over 15%) - only takes a few minutes to prepare and 24 hours to develop flavor. They also meet the "gourmet cuisine" standard, everyone loves my pickles. See Recipes tab. Fermented pre-biotic pickles are all over 10%. If you try to ferment below 5% they turn to mush. So need to add vinegar and get pro-biotic kick with Kefir.

You can sort any column by clicking on small arrows in header. You can search the database by entering search terms in the "Search Filter" box.
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