Thursday, August 30, 2012

Migraines and Salt Intake

Many people do not realize the effects that salt has on their bodies. After I had my heart attacks in October of 2009, I had to go on a low salt diet, as do all heart patients. Within months, I realized that the migraines that plagued me since I was five years old were suddenly gone.

Migraines had affected me since I was a child. These migraines occurred at least three times a month and sometimes they landed me in the hospital. When I was about thirty-five, I learned that processed foods made these headaches worse so I cut back on those foods.

For instance, I cut back to two hot dogs at a cook out and I had a slight headache not that raging one I had when I ate three. In the summer time at cookouts, I would eat three grilled hotdogs but I rarely ate them other times in the year. I did eat a lot of cheese and sandwich meat because it was cheap, as a single mom, I pinched pennies.

After the heart attacks, I began reading labels to make sure I was staying on the low salt diet. Cold cuts, hotdogs, sausage, and cheese went off my diet for the most part, because they were high in sodium. The benefit for me was lower blood pressure and the migraines virtually disappeared. I have had a few since then but they are very rare and always occur after I splurge on sodium-laden foods.
Occasionally when I will eat too much salt, the migraines come back because the blood pressure goes up. I can feel it. Most of us do not realize the effects that our food intake does to our bodies.

Unfortunately, after some people have heart attacks they still did not limit the salt and their blood pressure remains high. Therefore, they have recurring heart attacks. I am very careful about what I put in my body. I am anal about salt intake because I am scared to death to have another heart attack.

I am very careful when I go out to a restaurant. I order baked chicken or a chef salad, but the heavily seasoned items are off my list of eatable foods. Instead of the beer battered Haddock I love, I opt for baked fish which is lightly seasoned and not breaded. I choose a baked potato instead of the French fries, which are usually salted before they come from the kitchen.

For picnics or parties where there is a wide array of food, I will always go for the plain looking foods. I also make a low salt dish to pass so that I know at least there is one thing I can eat. Being on a low salt diet does not mean I have to eat bland food or go hungry. It simple means I need to make better choices and if this means I get the added bonus of the rare migraine it is a great choice.

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