Thursday, May 20, 2010


Salt is a combination of the minerals sodium and chloride. These minerals are "essential" nutrients for the human body, which means that because we do not make these minerals in our body, they must be supplied by our diet.

Salt, in any human body, helps to maintain the body's fluid balance by keeping the right amount of water in the right places (think mucus membranes and organs). Salt also helps our muscles to contract. Not having enough salt in the body can disturb growth, reduce appetite, and cause stomach pain, weakness, nausea, and headache. Salt is necessary in helping regulate the body's moisture.

The Cystic Fibrosis genetic mutation creates a basic defect that causes the sodium chloride in the CFer's body to not move freely and correctly throughout the cells in the body.
People who have Cystic Fibrosis lose extra salt in their sweat, making it terribly important to take in the extra from their diet.

No one is really sure just how much extra salt a person with CF must take in, but the recommendation is to take in salty foods in the diet and use that salt shaker on the table freely. Some adults with CF also take salt tablets as a dietary supplement. It helps aid in the loosening of the mucus membranes in the body.

Salt is good for a CFer. It is very rare that a person with CF will have high blood pressure due to too much salt. It is very rare that a CFer will ever get too much salt, in fact, because salt is lost heavily through their sweat, they are at risk for too little salt. Especially in humid and hot weather, or if they spend a lot of time outside or exercising, it is necessary to take in more salt.

When Lucy was a baby and still exclusively breastfeeding, I still had to supplement her milky diet with salt. I would either pump my milk and give her an ounce or two in a bottle with salt sprinkled in it OR I would just sprinkle salt directly on my nipple before she nursed! She had no issues with that extremely direct way. Lucy has always craved salt, and now she loves to eat extra salty foods. Today, before we went on a trip to the park, I had stopped off at the store to pick up a few sandwiches for us. I was walking passed the drink aisle, and thought to myself, "Hey, let's see if she likes Gatorade." She has never had Gatorade before, and my salt-loving girl sucked it down like it was the last bottle on earth.

Here is a really cool list that our CF team gave me last week to help me judge just how much salt Lucy is getting in her diet:

FOOD ....Sodium in milligrams

Ramen, cup noodles (1 package) ....1430
Salt (1/4 teaspoon) ....580
Dill pickle (1 medium) ....570
Canned soup (1 cup) ....480
Hard pretzels (1 ounce) ....385
Pedialyte (1cup) ....245
Cheerios (1 cup) ....204
Gatorade Endurance (1 cup) ....200
Bacon (1 slice) ....185
Potato chips (1 ounce) ....180
Canned carrots (1/2 cup) ....177
Gatorade (1 cup) ...110
Whole milk (1 cup) ....98

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