For people suffering from Orthostatic Intolerance, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, Mast Cell Activtation or EDS. Follow me as I document my struggle towards better health.

Lotsa Salt Diet

If you have POTS or OI you have probably been told that you need to build your blood volume.  One way to help build volume over time is to substantially increse the salt in your diet and to drink litres of water per day.  If you spend a little time planning your meals, you'll find that you can incorporate additional salt without resorting to junk food.

Cooking with lotsa salt can be fun!  Experiment with your favorite recipes or if cooking isn't your thing find quick, healthy snacks that taste ok with the addition of more salt.

Here are a couple of blog posts that I hope are helpful with designing your own Lotsa Salt Diets:
Increasing Salt in Your Diet - Part I
Increasing Salt in Your Diet - Part II
Sample Lotsa Salt Diet for those with ZERO energy

Keep the emphasis on nutritious foods and don't fall into the trap of going for the bag of chips.  When I feel like eating a big bag of all-dressed Humpty Dumpty chips I remind myself how much I want to get better, to feel better and I grab a snack-sized PC low fat cottage cheese instead and add some salt.

I have also found that foods that are low on the glycemic index are better tolerated by my system than high-glycemic foods such as those with refined sugars and flours.  So my advice is enjoy lots of veggies, LOTS of veggies, keep red meat to one meal a week.  Discover fish if you haven't been a big fish eater previously.  Eat fruits such as berries, apples, kiwis, a banana here and there.

When you're feeling crappy and tired, its difficult to get around, and one of the last things you want or can do is cook.  Be easy on yourself, buy some prepared food but keep it healthy: tinned organic soups, snack size low-fat cottage cheeses, Motts veggie cocktail, skim cheese sticks, grated cheeses.  Some grocery stores even sell pre-packaged, washed veggies such as broccoli florets, celery sticks, bags of mixed leaf lettuce.  Throw some lettuce into a bowl, add a few broccoli florets, a sprinkling of grated cheese, tbsp of olive oil dressing, mix in SALT of course and you have a quick nutritious easy meal.

A delicious bag of greens I have found recently is call Euro Greens containing swiss chard, mustard and turnip greens and kale.  Fantastic when heated in a non-stick fry pan with olive oil.  These greens can take a lot of salt as their flavour is strong.

If spending more on prepared healthy foods prevents you from grabbing an easy bag of chips the I think you're getting much better value for your buck.  Think about how much NUTRITION you get for your dollar not how much food.

Increasing the Salt in Your Diet - PART II

Lotsa Salt in Nutritious Foods...
Making sure I have >8,000mg of salt in my diet daily required that I know how many grams of sodium were in a teaspoon of salt.  When searching for the answer on Google I found all kinds of conflicting answers.  So I chose a source that I thought was credible: The American Heart Association.  They say:
Sodium equivalents
1/4 teaspoon salt= 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt= 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt= 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt= 2,300 mg sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda= 1,000 mg sodium
 In order to increase my daily dietary sodium intake to >8,000 I need to eat an extra 3 1/2+ tsps!

Here are some fairly nutritious, lotsa salt snack ideas that I use every day:

  • Motts Garden Cocktail 250ml size contains a whopping 650mg sodium - I drink at least 750ml per day  TOTAL = 1,950mg
  • Low-fat 1% cottage cheese has 700mg per 250ml.  I eat 375ml or 1 1/2 cups per day.  PLUS I add 1/2 tsp of salt to each 1/2 cup TOTAL = 4,500mg
  • President's Choice Organic Vegetable Broth has 924mg per 250 ml.  I actually sip this hot in a mug in the afternoon, I find it a comforting drink for our cold climate. TOTAL=924mg
    Grand Total = 7,374mg sodium
Other high sodium snacks:
  • salted roasted almonds
  • low fat cheeses
  • dill pickles - approx 200 mg per pickle
  • dulse is super-high in sodium.  You can get dulse flakes from organic food stores and it can be quite delicious sprinkled on a salad or incorporated into brown rice cooked in broth
I have discovered that it's not too hard to incorporate relatively huge amounts of salt in my diet to get to my >8,000mg daily target.  However, I am sure the cottage cheese, Vegetable Cocktail and broth will get a bit boring after a while so I will continue my hunt for other foods and recipes good for my Lotsa Salt Diet.

Lotsa Salt Recipes

Here are a few recipes I use in my Lotsa Salt Diet.  Keep checking back as I will be posting more recipes as I cook them over the next few weeks:

If you are planning on starting a Lotsa Salt diet of your own then make sure you do so with the support and/or cooperation of your doctor.  While on my >8,000mg of sodium daily diet my blood is tested weekly and my blood pressure monitored.


  1. Hi Liz!
    I'm reading your Lotsa Salt diet with a lot of interest :-)
    It seems to make a lot of sense, but I am wondering about the long term effect on health of such a high salt diet on a daily basis.
    Has Dr Levine, or your nutritionist, made any mention of this?


    Great Blog! :-)

  2. Christina - I don't believe you need to stay on the ultra-high sodium intake for longer than 3 -4 months after which you can lower it to a range where it "feels" right. My salt intake is probable around 4,000mg per day and that feels right for me. Probably as our weather warms up I will need to increase this.

    As for the long term effects- it is interesting that we all accept a low-sodium diet is healthier because it reduces the risk of a cardiac event or stroke. What are the long-term effects of low sodium for those people who are not at risk of cardiac events and stroke?

    I believe that there needs to be far more independant research into nutrition, period...but that's just my opinion.

  3. I very much appreciate all the work you have put in to researching high salt intake. Our daughter is 17 and has POTS and should be taking in at least 2 gms of sodium a day and 64 oz of fluid. She is a picky eater anyway so these ideas have helped. She is also on a beta blocker and they increased that this week also. Thank you for your blog.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your recovery process. I too have POTS and am struggling with it. My cardiologist is one of the anti-exercise types, but I have disregarded her advice and gone with the advice of my neurologist, who is pro-exercise. I just wrote to Dr. LEvine to get the protocol and I look forward to trying it. Thanks again,

  5. Do you work? I was a medical sales representative and now I am in bed a lot. The head pain is the worst symptom.
    Kelly Lynn O'Brien (facebook)

  6. I am SO THANKFUL I came across your site. After spending most of my Thanksgiving in my bed while the family was in the living room ...I set out this morning for find some helpful info on POTS since I was not getting enough from the medical community.I am going to email DR. Levine right now!!!

  7. Did you experience Edema? I have had to cut back on my salt due to Edema in especially my neck and stomach.

  8. Sometimes...salt TRIGGERS an attack. I need to figure out what I am doing wrong. I have POTS and chronic fatigue syndrome.

    1. Salt and eating in general increase my tachycardia. Don't know if this is "noral" for POTS. I have POTS, joint pain and fatigue due to Lyme disease. The testing is unreliable but finally tested positive through a specialist lab, IGENEX. I've been on antibiotics for 10 months and am slowly getting better but not cured (yet). Do they know what's causing your POTS symptoms?

    2. Hi, I'm just wondering, how are you doing today? (Your post is about 2 years old). I have all the same things as you and have been struggling lately.

  9. Do you know the amount of salt a pediatric patient will need? All my daughters doctors say increase salt, but no one can tell me exactly how much.
    Thank you :)

  10. Hi liz excellent page :) I am a POTS sufferer too ( neuropathic) as a result of a new unidentifed polygenic connective tissue disorder that is neither EDS or joint hypermobikity but lies somewhere in between... My family is being used as a case study by a clinical geneticist. I have a degree in food science and nutrition, as well as a master of human nutrition. Just wanted to point out that probiotic yogurts ( as you mention yogurt is included as breakfast) have the potential to reduce blood pressure by blocking angiotensin converting enzyme.... I always have to have a coffee with probiotic yogurts as I feel a significantb


  11. how did you come up with 8,000 a day of salt to consume?

  12. It kills me to drank water it makes me so nausea and I can hardly ever have a bowel
    Movement I look 10 times pregnant

    1. Increasing water intake will actually help you have a bm, but if you are swelling, you may be already backed up. GI issues are common with POTS. Try some oats, cabbage, or gentle laxative to get things moving!

  13. salt tabs, salt tabs, salt tabs. I pop 1-2 an hour. plus powerade zero.