Queen of Sleep

Living with narcolepsy: a personal journey

Low Salt Diet Tips for Sodium Oxybate Users

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Salt in our diet is a vital substance and helps to control the amount of water in our bodies,  the PH of the blood, assists to transmit nerve signals and to contracts our muscles.  It is present in all of our foods to a varied degree and especially processed foods. Most of us eat well over the recommended daily amount (6mg). if you take Sodium Oxybate/Xyrem you should have been informed by your doctor to lower your daily intake, especially if it is over 6 mg a day but how do you do it? Excessive amounts of salt is hidden in so many consumer foods nowadays that it is sometimes tricky to find out and to remember. On a regular basis, I try to avoid, fast food, processed food, ready meals and canned meals as well as eating out in restaurants usually contain excessive amounts of salt (and other additives) so try to stick to whole and fresh foods. Take up cooking as a hobby and make everything from scratch. Whenever I try to cut corners with my food I always end up more sleepy than before. The BBC website offers good  practical steps to reduce salt intake. If you’re checking labels, here’s a guide based on 100g/ml of product:

  • A lot of salt = 1.25g salt (or 0.5g sodium) – would be labelled as red on a traffic light labelling system
  • A little salt = 0.25g salt (0.1g sodium) – would be labelled as green on a traffic light labelling system
  • Anything in-between these figures indicates a moderate amount of salt

More ways to reduce salt intake:

  • Use fresh or dried herbs and spices to flavour vegetables
  • Avoid adding salt to your food when eating
  • Use soy sauce sparingly: one teaspoon contains about 0.36gof sodium (equivalent to 0.9g salt)
  • Buy fresh or frozen vegetables, or those canned without salt
  • Rinse canned foods, such as beans, to remove excess salt
  • Choose breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium
  • Buy low or reduced sodium versions, or those with no salt added

I have also found a US website that lists the top ten sources of salt in your diet: Bread and rolls, Cold cuts/cured meats, Pizza, Fresh and processed poultry, Soups, Sandwiches like cheeseburgers, Cheese, Pasta dishes like spaghetti with meat sauce, Meat dishes like meatloaf with tomato sauce, Snacks, including chips, pretzels, popcorn and puffs. If you visit their website you can also read the percentages broken down across the listed foods. They also write that the food we salt ourselves i.e. home cooked foods only account for 5-6% of our entire daily consumed amount of salt.

Personally, I don’t have a high salt intake – possibly the opposite. On a few occasions on holiday abroad, I have had cramps because I didn’t salt my food enough!! I don’t normally use salt a lot so I just continued to eat the same amount while spending time being active in 30 degrees heat. Not recommended!

Himalayan Crystal salts have been on the market for quite a while and to be honest I am not too keen on the flavour but do have a look at this amazing salt cave cafe treatment space outside of Manchester called Himalayan Salt Cave.

Last time I visited Sweden I found blue salt. It is really pretty salt with blue flecks of salt mixed in with a slightly translucent small pieces of salt. It’s called Iran Blue Salt from la collina toscana.  I have also found a Swedish salt that is supposed to taste like a storm at sea and is suitably called Storm.  The most famous of British salt is Maldon, a delicious variety from Essex. Essentially the bottom line is: don’t eat crap salt, control your intake and buy British (eh or Swedish obviously!)!


Written by Queen of Sleep

February 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

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