A Little “Salty” Are We?

Oh salt.

You little crystals of sodium chloride. Good ol’ Na to the Cl. You creep your little crystalline way into everything we eat, make us retain water,  and heighten the pressure of our blood pumping through our veins. You wreak havoc on our bodies in ways that we are unaware, until we are suddenly called upon to be more aware.

Hubby has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and so Flymom has taken to switching over to a low sodium diet. I have been scouring the internet and Pinterest, reading about systolic and diastolic numbers. Cramming about LDL and HDL cholesterol, because, while we’re at it, let’s find out there is a little plaque in his left carotid artery.

Were you aware that a diastolic reading (that’s the bottom number) of over 110 was known as Hypertensive Crisis? No? Yeah, I didn’t either until my husband’s reading was 112. A systolic reading (that’s the top number) of higher than 180 also constitutes a crisis and immediate medical attention. Of course I took the next logical step in today’s world,  and I looked it up to see exactly what that meant, and then proceeded to have a panic attack.

Were you aware that pieces of plaque can break off, and cause a blockage? This blockage prohibits oxygen from getting to the brain, and the result is a stroke. I had some knowledge of this, but nothing brings it all into perspective like the risk of a loved one’s health.

Here are a few other interesting tid-bits I have come across so far:

  1. Some foods are unsuspected culprits of additional sodium to your diet. Bread… suspect #1.  Bread… how I love thee. How can you contain so much sodium?  Let me count the ways… The lowest per slice I have found thus far is 70 mg. The bread is so thin and small, I had to switch to the small sized Ziploc bags in order to put one into my husband’s lunch. It must look like a Giant nibbling on finger sandwiches at tea time, and probably only takes him about four bites to consume. Other lunch options are being investigated that will keep him energized and full.
  2. Potassium helps to absorb some of our daily sodium intake. So, bananas are my husband’s new best friend.

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    Ohhhh… banana!

  3. Soluble fiber in amounts of 5-10 mg a day can actually help to lower your body’s production of LDL, as will oatmeal, kidney beans, and prunes. So THAT’S why they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Perhaps it would be better to teach our children, “an apple or two a day keeps the LDL away.” Better life lesson, amirite?

Needless to say, we are making some changes in our home.We are loading up on the fruits and vegetables. I read labels continuously and keep a tally of my husband’s  daily sodium  intake. A little medication, a new diet, and some exercise will hopefully restore health to as good as possible. New ways of eating and living will hopefully become the new norm, and our days of overindulging will become a distant part of our past. Our girls will hopefully grow up to live a healthy life where eating well is actually appealing to them, unlike their mother who enjoys everything and anything that is not of any benefit to her body. And more importantly, our girls will grow up with a father who is healthy and present for the precious gift that is life.

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