Living without salt
What you need to know
“Nutrition can be a surprisingly powerful tool”
Registered Nutritional Therapist with Meniere's
Links to help you live with a no/low salt diet
Can I have?
Salt reduction is widely recommended for many people with vertigo, as it is thought to result in a reduction of endolymphatic pressure.
Reducing salt intake may help to reduce the frequency and severity of Ménière’s attacks. There is a strong belief that Ménière’s disease involves an excess pressure of the sodium-rich fluid (called endolymph) in the inner ear.
It is thought that reducing salt in your diet may be helpful, because it may reduce the pressure of that fluid. The build up of this fluid accounts for the feeling of fullness in the ear before an attack. The sudden release of that pressure, with the chaos that ensues, accounts for the sudden attack of vertigo that you have, and for the sudden changes in hearing that happen.
It is strongly recommended that you consult your GP before undertaking a salt restricted diet, particularly if you are taking medication for any other illness or if you are pregnant.
Many patients will themselves know that if they have a particularly salty meal a few hours later they start to develop an attack. (Meniere’s Org UK)
Flavouring food without salt
You don’t have to cut down on flavor because you are reducing your salt intake. Your taste buds will adapt to lower salt levels in a short time. Gradually reducing your salt intake is the key factors to success.
Experiment when you are cooking by adding fresh herbs or dry herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, onion, vinegar, lemon or lime. When buying mixed herbs and spices, check the sodium content on the back of the packet.
Bread is a major source of sodium on our diets. Choose reduced salts and breakfast cereals, eat fresh vegetables or select low salt canned varieties.
Choose products with low salt (less than 120 mg sodium/100 g) or ‘salt-free’
Some people believe that sea salt is a healthier alternative to normal table salt, but both are composed of sodium chloride.
There numerous websites to help you find low salt recipes, low salt products, and chat lines:
Low Salt Diet
It is recommended to limit sodium intake - 120mg per 100 gram
What is the difference between salt and sodium?
Salt is composed of two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Table salt (NaCl) contains about 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 mg of sodium. As much as we are told to limit sodium in our diets, we all need some sodium for good health.
What foods have natural sodium?
Sodium is found in most foods you eat — though whole foods like vegetables, fruits and poultry contain much lower amounts. Plant-based foods like fresh produce generally have less sodium than animal-based foods, such as meat and dairy products.
As we get plenty of salt that is found naturally in food, or added to processed foods, we don’t need to add salt to cooking or meals.
* vinegars and fruit juices such as lemon, lime and pineapple juice
* curry spices such as cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, chilli
* aromatic (fragrant) flavourings such as fresh or dried herbs and spices, garlic, onion, chives, spring onion (for example mix together and rub on meat, fish, and chicken)
* horseradish, table wine and sherry
* ‘no added salt’, ‘low salt’ or ‘reduced salt’ varieties of stock powders and stock cubes
Are some types of salt better than others?
Salt comes in different forms such as sea salt, rock salt, cooking salt, salt flakes, pink salt, chicken salt, onion salt, celery salt, and garlic salt.
But regardless of the type of salt, they are all very high in sodium so we need to take each of them into account in order to lower our salt (sodium) intake.
* ‘no added salt’ means no salt has been added to the food and are generally excellent choices. The food may still contain some sodium found naturally in the food, and if so you will see the amount in the ‘per 100g’ column and ‘per serve’ column on the nutrition information panel
* ‘low salt’ products contain 120mg per 100g or less and are excellent choices
* ‘reduced salt’ means the product is at least 25% lower in sodium than the regular variety
* foods and drinks with 500mg sodium per 100g or more are high in salt so try to choose a lower salt variety or limit how often and how much you have of these products
* salt will be listed on the ingredient list if the product contains salt. Also watch out for food additives that contain sodium, like MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG may appear in the ingredient list by its food additive number - 621.
Laura Fisher is Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, mBANT, CNHC.
Laura is a mum with Ménière's Disease.
Laura spent three years studying Functional Medicine at The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London.
After working in advertising for fourteen years Laura became interested in nutrition after experiencing digestive issues, and decided to pursue a nutrition qualification.
When her Ménières symptoms were at their worst, Laura was afraid to out or go on holidays and anxious to look after her daughter alone. She couldn’t drive, avoided busy places and had to step back from a busy corporate career. She was desperate for silence from the constant tinnitus and terrified the fluctuating hearing loss would become permanent deafness. She felt like her life was over.
With her training as a Nutritional Therapist, and based on the latest research suggesting that Ménière's is a form of autoimmune disease, Laura made a number of dietary changes that helped her to identify the underlying causes of her symptoms, and ultimately to control them. By listening to what her body was telling her after eating different foods, she learned to support her immune system back to health.
She has not cured her Ménière's but is now symptom-free, and is on a mission to help others support their health naturally.
Spice Road Spices:
Sell only salt free spices, salt free spice blends and recipes
They will donate 10% of the sale price with each order to Meniere’s Research.
(Mention you have Meniere's if you are ordering)
Herbies spices and herbs show sodium content on their packaging.
Bresnahan's Butchers & Fine Foods
Low salt sausages and patties for Meniere’s
42 Morts Rd, Mortdale NSW 2223 –
(02) 9570 8188 - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Heart Foundation of Australia
Provide information on healthy eating, shopping guides, receipts etc.
Low Sodium Foods
Online shopping in Australia for low salt products
Helpful information to control salt intake
To join the discussion group for your sodium questions, send a blank email to:
30 page PDF- guide to low-salt eating
Eat for Health - The Australian Dietary Guidelines
Detailed information about the Australian Dietary Guidelines and everything you need to know to implement the guidelines. It’s about eating well, gives advice and tips on choosing nutritious foods and healthy recipes.
Chef Donald Gazzaniga has Meniere's
Dietary low sodium website
Coffee, tea and alcohol can be a problem as they cause the tiniest blood vessels at the very end of the system to contract and so restrict the blood supply to the inner ear. A cup or two is one thing but 10 or more strong coffees a day could make your symptoms much worse.
Caffeine affects everyone differently, based on your size, health and weight plus the amount taken. Avoid caffeine-containing fluids and foods (such as coffee, tea and chocolate). Large amounts of caffeine may trigger migraine (migraine can be difficult diagnostically to separate from Meniere's disease). Chocolate can also a migraine trigger.
Caffeine is used in a number of different products. The amount of caffeine in these products can vary dramatically, so it’s always best to check the label.
A cup or two is one thing but 10 or more strong coffees a day could make your symptoms much worse.
Beyond the dizziness you feel while drinking, alcohol can actually change the composition of the fluid in your inner ear, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association. Alcohol also dehydrates you.
Small amounts of alcohol - a small beer, a glass of red wine or a pub measure of spirits - may actually improve the peripheral circulation, but any more has the opposite effect.
Cutting back on alcohol consumption, or even stopping completely, might help your vertigo symptoms.
Cut down/give up caffeine
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