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Low Sodium Diet

For Patients with Meniere’s Disease
By: Kim Pollock, RN, MBA, CORLN; Hope Andresen, RN

Your body, including the inner ear (labyrinth), requires a very accurate balance of fluids to ensure proper functioning. Meniere’s Disease and some other inner ear disorders, are thought to be a result of an imbalance in inner ear fluids (endolymph and perilymph) in the inner ear.

The amount of sodium (salt) is one of the many factors which regulates the balance of fluid in your body. Sodium causes you to retain fluid which disrupts the delicate balance between endolymph and perilymph in the inner ear.

The subsequent inner ear fluid imbalance causes the fine membranes (Reissner’s membrane) of the inner ear to rupture, which results in symptoms of hearing loss, ringing or unwanted noise in your ear (tinnitus), a feeling of pressure or fullness in your ear, and balance disturbance or vertigo.


A 2 gram (gm) per day, or 2000milligram (mg) sodium diet is recommended to help reduce the amount of fluid in your body and inner ear.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the quantity of sodium in your food selection.
  2. Plan your menu for a week. By totaling your sodium intake over a week, you can add or subtract as needed to meet the 2gm/day limit.
  3. Read all labels when purchasing food.
  4. When eating out, ask for low salt entrees and that no salt be added during food preparation. Order foods without gravy or skin.
  5. Experiment with salt substitutes or common spices to enhance the taste of your food.
  6. Avoid medications which contain sodium such as some antacids, cough syrups, laxatives or sedatives.

ALTERNATE NAMES FOR SODIUM (Don’t let names fool you!)

Substance Use
Brine Inhibits growth of bacteria in food
Cl-Sodium Phosphate Used in cereals and cheese
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Preservative/Flavor enhancer
NaCl (Sodium Chloride) Chemical symbol for salt: season, can, process food
Sodium Alginate Smoothes texture of chocolate milk/ice cream
Sodium Benzoate Preservative in condiments
Sodium Bicarbonate Baking Soda, leavening agent
Sodium Caseinate Used as a thickener & binder
Sodium Citrate Buffer used in soft drinks to control acidity
Sodium Hydrozide Soften or loosen skin of fruits & vegetables
Sodium Nitrate Curing agent in meats, prevents botulism
Sodium Phosphate Used as a buffer
Sodium Propionate Inhibits growth of bacteria & mold
Sodium Saccharine An artificial sweetener
Sodium Sulfite Preservative in dried fruits



Food Serving Sodium
KFC Chicken Filet 1 sandwich 2,732 mg
Cream of Chicken Soup 1 can 2,397 mg
Table Salt 1 teaspoon 2,300 mg
Burger King Whopper 1 sandwich 1,435 mg
Corned Beef Hash 1 ½ oz. 1,420 mg
Arby’s Roast Beef 1 sandwich 1,304 mg
Meat Loaf Dinner 1 frozen 1,276 mg
Pizza 2 slices 1,100 mg
Ham 3 oz. 1,010 mg
Soy Sauce 1 tablespoon 1,024 mg
Morton’s Lite Salt 1 teaspoon 1,100 mg
McDonald’s Big Mac 1 sandwich 1,010 mg
Tomato Soup 1 cup 932 mg
Dill Pickle 1 medium 928 mg
Chicken Pot Pie 1 frozen 907 mg
Bouillon 1 cube 864 mg
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon 821 mg
Wendy’s Hamburger 1 sandwich 774 mg
Pepperoni 1 oz. 580 mg
Cottage Cheese ½ cup 487 mg
Instant Mashed Potatoes   485 mg
Hot Dog 1 Beef Link 460 mg
Popcorn, microwave 3 cups 420 mg
Tuna, canned 3 oz. 384 mg
Corn, canned 1 cup 384 mg
Pastrami 1 oz. 330 mg
Salami 1 oz. 328 mg
English Muffin 1 293 mg
Bologna 1 oz. 284 mg
Buttermilk 1 cup 257 mg
Tomato Juice 4 oz. 243 mg
Bacon 1 slice 180 mg
Peanuts 1 oz. 180 mg
Relish 1 oz. 148 mg
Margarine 1 tablespoon 140 mg
Milk 1 cup 122 mg
Butter, salted 1 tablespoon 116 mg
Catsup 1 teaspoon 115 mg
Bread, white 1 slice 114 mg
Mustard 1 teaspoon 63 mg



Food Serving Sodium
Chicken ½ breast 69 mg
Pork 3 oz. 59 mg
Steak 3 oz. 55 mg
Tuna, fresh 3 oz. 50 mg
Avocado 1 avocado 21 mg
White Wine, domestic 4 oz. 19 mg
Water, tap 1 cup 12 mg
Corn, raw 1 ear 14 mg
Rice, brown, cooked 1 cup 10 mg
Tomato, raw 1 medium 10 mg
Radish, raw ½ cup 9 mg
Cauliflower, raw ½ cup 8 mg
Potato, raw 4 oz. 7 mg
Bread, low sodium, white 1 slice 7 mg
Cabbage, raw ½ cup 6 mg
Applesauce 1 cup 6 mg
Okra, boiled ½ cup 4 mg
Squash, baked, acorn ½ cup 4 mg
Butter, unsalted 1 tablespoon 2 mg
Coffee 6 oz. 2 mg
Eggplant 1 cup 2 mg
Lettuce, iceberg 2 oz.  2 mg
Spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 2 mg
Apple, raw 5 oz.  1 mg
Apricot, raw 3 1 mg
Asparagus 4 spears 1 mg
Banana 1 1 mg
Cucumber, raw ½ cup 1 mg
Cranberry Juice 1 cup 1 mg
Grapes, seedless 10 1 mg
Mushrooms, raw ½ cup 1 mg
Popcorn, unsalted 1 cup 1 mg
Oatmeal, regular ¾ cup 1 mg
Onions, raw 1 tablespoon 0 mg


SALT SUBSTITUTES: Try These Instead of Salt

Lawry’s “A Natural Choice”
Norcliff Thayer “”No-Salt”
Morton “Salt Substitute”
“Mrs. Dash”: variety of herbs-salt free
Thyme: lean meats, sauces, soups, salads, tomatoes, onions, peas
Basil: fish, lamb, lean meats, stews, salads, soups, sauces, fish
Chives: Salads, sauces, soups, lean meats, vegetables
Cinnamon: fruits, apples, breads, pie crusts
Curry: lean meats, tomatoes, tomato soup, mayonnaise
Dill: fish sauces, soups, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, salads, macaroni, chicken, fish. beef
Garlic: (not garlic salt) lean meats, fish, poultry, salads, vegetables
Lemon Juice: lean meats, fish, poultry, salads, vegetables
Mustard (dry): lean meats, chicken, fish, salads, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mayonnaise, saucS



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