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Apparently I need to eat more salt. How?!

(33 Posts)
fuzzpig Wed 21-Nov-12 22:04:00

We don't have salt in the house usually, as we don't really like it, and I thought there was enough salt in stuff like bread, crisps, pasta sauces etc.

But I saw a specialist today (I have been diagnosed with CFS) who confirmed I have something called orthostatic intolerance, where I get dizzy on standing due to rocketing pulse and low blood pressure.

Apparently adding a bit more salt (as well as drinking more water, which is easy) helps a lot of his patients with this symptom.

But I actually don't really know how to use salt. I don't really like it if meals taste too salty (say if we have bacon, we usually rinse it first!) so I'm not really sure how to increase my intake, other than eating more crisps!

Any ideas please?!

CMOTDibbler Wed 21-Nov-12 22:06:40

Crisps would work though - I get cramp if I don't have enough salt, and it only takes a packet of crisps a day to sort it out. Maybe salted butter as well ?

seeker Wed 21-Nov-12 22:10:37

Pardon my cynicism- but is this a properly qualified medical specialist?

If so, how about mor cheese? That has loads of salt.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 21-Nov-12 22:11:56

I was also going to ask if this was a medical doctor who advised this?

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 22:13:27

Umm, describe your symptoms please OP?

I am hopefully getting tested for PoTS which has the same treatment, dyrolite each day before getting out of bed.

HappyTurquoise Wed 21-Nov-12 22:13:34

Cheese has lots of salt. Use salted butter in recipes, on veg, on toast. Marmite. Put salt, or salted stock cube in the water you boil veg, pasta, rice or potatoes. Have a salt grinder and use on chips, on egg, or anything bland.

starfishmummy Wed 21-Nov-12 22:23:27

Low sodium is often treated by dietary changes.
I am not a medical professional, but a parent to a child who has had episodes of low sodium whilst in hospital. Bags of crisps were suggested!

fuzzpig Wed 21-Nov-12 22:50:43

Yes, a medical professor at st barts hospital in london, he runs the CFS/ME specialist clinic there.

Said I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) as a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome. Described my symptoms and did a simple test.

Basically when I stand up, my blood pressure goes down and my pulse goes up, I can feel my heart racing and get very dizzy. Say I stand up and walk up stairs, by the time I get there I am swooning all over the place, feel like my legs are made of lead. It is so unsettling and very frustrating! I can't stand for long at all, I'm hoping local occupational therapy will lend me a perching stool for the kitchen just so I have a chance of cooking, at the moment I can't do anything like that sad

I was confused about the salt thing, can't remember what he said exactly (brain fog is a big problem) but it was something to do with blood volume. Or something like that. <racks brains> Got to be worth a go anyway. He didn't mention any supplements though.

When is your test mrsj?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 21-Nov-12 22:52:42

Crisps and chips then.

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 22:55:18

Going to see Prof Grahame in a few weeks will see after that. Did you have a tilt test? Are you def CFS only?, as many with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome get that as you get CF and PoTS with EDS.

fuzzpig Wed 21-Nov-12 22:55:34

Thanks for suggestions BTW - doesn't seem like such a hard task now! smile

MrsjREwing Wed 21-Nov-12 22:56:40

I think I have PoTS and spoke to someone with it, apparently Mayo clinic recomends Dyrolite before you get out of bed.

fuzzpig Wed 21-Nov-12 22:59:25

No EDS, we talked at length about symptoms and I am happy with the diagnosis of CFS. Well, not happy exactly, but good to know I've been taken seriously and we can now start treatment.

He took my blood pressure and pulse lying down and then standing up, and was watching me for other symptoms like dizziness, tingly hands etc.

summerintherosegarden Thu 22-Nov-12 08:14:06

Pretty much all supermarket soup has a huge amount of salt in it. I remember having one that had 50% of the RDA in one tub! Check them out, they don't taste particularly salty either.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 22-Nov-12 11:33:47

If you're very sensitised to salt because you don't use it, you can build up your salt tolerance gradually. (People with a too-salty diet are advised to do the reverse) If you add very small pinches to your cooking initially you really won't taste the difference but you'll be getting extra salt. Gradually increase the size of the pinches over time and your taste-buds will not recoil in disgust. Total recommended salt intake is only about a teaspoon a day so you don't have to go mad.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 12:10:15

Thanks, I think what I am worried about is that I'll eat too much, isn't the recommended limit only 6g? Which can be reached easily just by eating stuff that already has salt in it, or so I thought.

You are right, I am very sensitive to it due to not using it - I love crisps and things like ritz crackers <makes note to add these to shopping list> but not salty meals if that makes sense.

Seems like a good excuse to get salted lurpak which does taste nicer than Unsalted... grin

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 22-Nov-12 12:26:21

If you don't eat a lot of ready-made/canned/processed foods and you don't add salt to cooking or at the table, 6g is not that easy to hit. If you add small amounts to your meals (in the cooking rather than after it's served) starting now and increase it gradually over the next few weeks, I guarantee you will not describe the end result as a 'salty meal'. If you go from nothing to lots of salt overnight you'd notice it, but not in a gradual progression.

Goes without saying btw that you need to increase your fluid intake slightly at the sametime.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 13:14:53

Yes he also said I have to make sure I keep up the water as well, which will be easy, as it's really only laziness that means I don't drink enough blush

I have been using a lot more ready meals (and particularly things like sauces for pasta etc) since I got ill but not sure how much salt is in them. I will start adding a bit in when I do cook though.

This all feels really weird as I've had it drummed into me that salt is bad for you, all the change4life type things say about cutting down on it! When we get canned food like sweetcorn we always get the unsalted version. But if it makes me feel better I'll definitely do it.

Remember the 6g is the absolute maximum amount if you are caning it on salt, it's a limit not a target.

drjohnsonscat Thu 22-Nov-12 17:18:10

I have had the same advice - from a specialist at St Mary's London. So it's perfectly standard medical advice. For the same symptoms. I have vasovagal syncope which has similar effects - low bp which plummets if I do anything to stress it (like standing up grin). I had to do a tilt table test and thought I was going to faint while doing it - vile. My bp is routinely around the 90/60 mark but can go to 80/40.

Advice was more salt, more water, less caffeine. Am ok with the first two but the third isn't easy.

multitaskmama Thu 22-Nov-12 17:57:54

Lots of curries have salt but don't taste too salty, especially when added in the early stages of the cooking process, they help soften the onions quicker. This is like hidden salt so may help smile

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 19:26:49

I'm not too bad on the caffeine, I hate tea and coffee and only have Pepsi maybe twice a week. He did tell me to cut down on chocolate though as it has caffeine and another stimulant in it. I will find that quite difficult but maybe I could swap the chocolatey snacks for twiglets and peanut butter wink

Not at the same time, mind.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 19:27:53

I did have a ready meal for lunch today, it had 1.9g salt, no wonder it's easy to go over the limit of 6g!

I have to have LOTS of salt for my POT's fortunately I crave it so eat a lot of marmite, anchovies, olives and add it to every meal (except sweet stuff) You can get salt tablets if you are really struggling. I find that marigold swiss bouillion is another good way - no calories so you can just drink it. Ditto miso soup but thats expensive.

he really ought to do a proper tilt table test - they monitor a lot more than basic hr and blood pressure.

also had another thought! worth getting a home blood pressure machine so you can monitor how it is affecting you.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 19:34:16

Ooh didn't know about the bouillon - we actually use that quite a lot as it is gluten free (DH is coeliac) smile

frenchfancy Thu 22-Nov-12 19:35:29

My recommendation would be to get some posh salt. You would be surprised at what a difference it makes. We use Fleur de Sel (sorry I don't know what it is called in English) it is a sea salt, but it flakes in your fingers so you don't need a mill. It tastes much nicer than ordinary salt.

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 19:36:23

Peanut butter is very salty isn't it? <clueless>

summerintherosegarden Thu 22-Nov-12 19:46:53

Frenchfancy, fleur de sel isn't available much in the UK (sooo delicious though) but Maldon is a very good alternative. You're quite right - I hate 'table salt' but love Maldon (and in fact now almost certainly eat far too much salt as a result of buying it!)

Rather than just adding plain salt to food you could try garlic salt or celery salt. I love celery salt and probably use far more than I should. It's lovely added to soup or cheese sauce. Or anything really!

Gimblinginthewabe Thu 22-Nov-12 19:59:15

I have a different medical condition that means I have low sodium. I love salt though (cravings due to the low levels) so it isn't a problem.

Before I was diagnosed I ate a lot of marmite and crisps. I can tell when my levels are low because I drink the brine from olive jars!!!

McCoys crisps have the most sodium per bag if that helps!

fuzzpig Thu 22-Nov-12 21:02:20

I am doing my tesco order now including twiglets grin

Bizarrely I haven't been craving salt at all - in general my appetite has been a bit 'meh' lately. I used to get really big salt cravings especially during my period.

I have to try and increase my iron intake too, my last test was a little bit low (not enough to cause all the CFS symptoms though).

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