Salt can provide a balance

July 05, 2012|Lisa Prejean

After two fainting episodes this summer, my doctor supplied a simple solution: Sodium chloride.

Apparently, I need more salt in my diet.

Most people would love to have that diagnosis, rather than the opposite one: Limit your salt intake. I've heard mature women say they hide the salt shaker from their husbands.

People with high blood pressure are told to avoid salt, but when low blood pressure is a problem, salt could provide a remedy.

Salt, after all, provides a balance.

A little bit adds flavor.

The ancients knew this. Job asked his friend Eliphaz, "Can that which is unsavory be eaten without salt?"

The thought was that even bad food would taste good if a little salt was added.

Too much salt, though, reduces taste and adds thirst.

(When eating salty foods, it is always best to keep some water close by.)

A few years ago, a doctor encouraged me to keep a salt shaker in my desk drawer at work so I could sprinkle salt on my tongue as needed.

(Don't try this at home unless you are under a doctor's watchful care.)

Recently I've been encouraged to take salt tablets, which are found in the dietary supplement aisle and are recommended for tennis players, golfers and people with chronic fatigue. Talk about odd bedfellows.

If you were asked to finish that series, wouldn't you select another athlete?

"These tablets are recommended for tennis players, golfers and jockeys ... " or something like that.

Athletes lose a lot of sodium through sweat. People who are chronically tired probably never had the right balance of sodium in the first place.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just share the wealth? Those who need less sodium could share with those who need more sodium.

Likewise, I wish I could take some of the pressure away from my friends with hypertension. Their blood pressure would decrease; mine would increase. It would be a win-win situation.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy. So I guess I'll stick with taking the supplements and see how things go.

I'm sure to tip the scales a little higher because sodium can cause fluid retention, but if that means staying upright, the extra pounds will be worth it.

Guess I'll have to become a tennis player or a golfer to compensate.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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