A low sodium diet is very important when it comes to managing Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops, Meniere’s Disease, Vestibular Migraine, and some other vestibular diagnoses. Additionally, it is good for your heart, brain, and blood pressure!
The average American eats about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, that’s almost 50% more than what we should be consuming on a daily basis, 2300 milligrams (1). Every person needs some sodium in order to carry out normal daily function, so no one’s diet should be completely eliminated of sodium. We should, however, try to stick to the 2300 milligrams/day, or slightly less, depending on your needs. Sodium reduction needs are completely person dependent, and beginning a new diet should always start with a conversation with your healthcare team. Discuss how much sodium you should aim for with your dietician, physician, or physical therapist.
Although sodium and salt are frequently identified as the same thing, sodium is actually a big umbrella term for many ingredients that contain sodium, not just salt. Sodium can be found in foods like salt and soy sauce, which taste salty, or baked goods, which do not. Because it’s hidden in so many food items, it’s important to remember that we read labels to find out what may be in your foods!
Making the switch to a low sodium diet can be difficult & seem intimidating, but there are a few tips and tricks that help many of my patients stick to the new routine!
- Keep the salt shaker off of the table. Getting rid of your salt shaker so you can’t salt your dish after it’s prepared is the best step to beginning a low sodium diet.
- Learn to read the labels. We love the way sodium makes our food taste, so food distributors hide it in many processed foods. It’s important that we discuss with our
- Find an accountability buddy! A big change like sodium reduction can be difficult, find a friend, partner, or family member to being this journey with you!
- Track your sodium intake. Write down the amount of sodium each food has in it and add it up at the end of the day. Go over your number? That’s okay, start over tomorrow!
- Make it a lifestyle change. Something that is done unsustainably in the beginning, won’t be sustainable forever. A “quick fix” when it comes to diets is not usually a good idea, so taking small steps to make a lifestyle change rather than a short term diet is best.
- Meal prep! Lunch time can be the hardest time of day for some people, so preparing ahead of time is a great solution. Preparing your lunches for the week on Sundays is a great idea to help you make healthy choices throughout the week. Using Tupperware to pre-pack lunches a few days ahead of time is my favorite tactic!
- Avoid processed or frozen meals. Sodium is a fantastic preservative; many food companies use it in high quantities to keep foods shelf stable. Premade frozen meals and shelf stable items like canned soup contain a significant amount of sodium.
- Add fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats to your diet. Eating food that you prepare and cook is the best way to know exactly what’s going inside of it.
- Ask your server to request your meal to be unsalted. Your server can always ask the kitchen to eliminate or reduce the amount of salt put in your meal. Sometimes it’s not possible to completely remove the extra sodium, but the chef usually has a few tricks to reduce the sodium and still have your meal tasting fantastic!
- Use herbs for cooking! Herbs are a great replacement for salt, and often help your meal taste even better. Experiment in the kitchen, especially as you meal prep, so find which seasonings you like best! These Mrs. Dash seasonings are a crowd favorite and are always salt-free!
A low sodium diet may seem impractical or difficult, but it is so frequently the key to being successfully dizzy-free! Once you get the hang of it, it will become so much easier, and you’ll be a low-sodium-expert!
(1) Food and Drug Administration. (2016, July 19). You May Be Surprised by How Much Salt You’re Eating. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/you-may-be-surprised-how-much-salt-youre-eating