A recent study by researchers at the Stanford
University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto
Health Care System found that a voluntary effort by the U.S. food
service industry to reduce salt in processed foods could lead to a 9.5
percent decline in Americans’ salt intake. That, in turn, could lead
to a very modest decline in blood pressure among consumers.
"Limiting sodium is important in kidney disease of any
cause," said Eliza Chakravarty, MD, assistant professor of
immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University School of Medicine
and an expert on SLE. A low-sodium diet, she added, can help to
maintain both kidney function and blood pressure.
A year ago, Goldman launched a blog to share low- and no-sodium
recipes she has tested, as well as cooking and restaurant-ordering
tips. Today more than 5,000 visitors per month check out her
offerings, from crunchy risotto cakes to coconut black rice and dream bars.
Goldman said the blog is her way of saying thanks for "the
gift" of being a survivor. "When I was still on dialysis,
the doctors told me that because I had kidney disease, I had to lower
my sodium intake to keep my blood pressure stable and to control
edema," she said. "But no one told me how to do that. Where
would I find low-sodium foods? What were the tricks to giving food
flavor? How could I make it work?"
How? By trial and error. Goldman learned to give up her daily tuna
sandwiches: "Between the bread, mayo and tuna fish, I was getting
tons of salt." By forgoing one teaspoon of salt, she learned, she
could give up 2300 mg of sodium. So she also gave up the crab she had
thought was healthy, and started cooking more pork, which has a
minimal amount of sodium. "And I began to realize that my blood
pressure was stabilizing, and that I could actually lower my medications."
At the same time, Goldman understands that salt sensitivity varies
widely. "My body happens to respond strongly to limiting salt
intake," she said. "But some people may not respond, and
everyone has to find what’s right for them."
Goldman continues to receive treatment from a nephrologist,
rheumatologist and general practitioner; she also sees an
endocrinologist and has frequent acupuncture. "You think you've
survived," she said. "But the reality of lupus is that your
body is constantly coming up with weird things to challenge you."
By Diane Rogers.