Managing Meniere’s Disease: How Much Sodium Do You Consume in a Day?

A low-sodium diet is important for those with Meniere's Disease

According to the Mayo clinic, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day. This is beyond the 1500-2400 milligrams daily (depending on your situation) recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  These levels fluctuate around world but are also high in Europe and countries where soy sauce is a favorite condiment.  In 2010, the World Health Organization convened a technical meeting on: “Creating an Enabling Environment for Population-based Salt Reduction Strategies.” In the meeting, they discussed how to help consumers reduce their sodium consumption.  Their concerns of high sodium diets revolved around heart and kidney problems. Those of us with Meniere’s disease, have our own “salt concerns.”

We understand that we should consume less sodium but we don’t always do it. One reason is that we are too lazy.  It takes a lot of effort to eat a low sodium diet.  Another reason is that we don’t realize just how much sodium is in those tasty things that we eat.  You cannot judge a food’s sodium content by how “salty” it tastes.  That just doesn’t work.  There are plenty of bland soups out there that are very high in sodium.

Let’s take a look at sample diet from a random day and the amount of sodium in that diet.

Quantity        Food Amount of Sodium (mg)
Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs 340
Breakfast 1 blueberry muffin 255
Breakfast 1 cup orange juice 5
Breakfast total 600
Lunch 1 tuna fish submarine sandwich 1293
Lunch 1 apple 0
Lunch 1 lemon-lime soda 40
Lunch total 1333
Dinner 1 chicken pot pie 857
Dinner 3/4 cup mixed vegetables (canned) 180
Dinner 1 cup tossed green salad 95
Dinner 1 Tbs Italian dressing 243
Dinner total 1375
Total Day’s total 3308

What can we learn from this simple exercise?  First, the daily total was not far off from the 3400 milligrams that I quoted earlier.  Second, it may surprise you at how high or low some of those foods are. Lastly, and I think this is the most important, that daily total could be reduced drastically by pin-pointing the high sodium foods and replacing them with a lower sodium alternative.  For example, swapping out the tuna fish sub sandwich for a peanut butter sandwich (150 milligrams of sodium) or an ice cream sandwich (64 milligrams of sodium) will drop that lunchtime sodium intake from 1333 to 190 mg and 104 mg respectively.

So what actions can you take?  Use this sodium chart and record the foods and sodium levels you consume in a week.  After that, take a look at daily levels and which foods peg the meter.  Replace those high sodium foods with lower sodium equivalents and you can bring your sodium content into a suitable range very quickly.