Going out these days can be trickier, adding an extra layer of complexity to the daily lives of people living with chronic conditions like dysautonomia or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Many have started buying food and essential items in bulk as a way to reduce the need to head outdoors.
While the recent uncertainty is unsettling, there is one silver lining: Often, the foods preferred by people living with conditions like dysautonomia are very high in salt, due to sodium’s ability to help ease symptoms in some patients. As a preservative, salt helps food last a long time, meaning popular “spoonie” treats like potato chips and broth are exactly the kinds of foods someone can safely stock up on.
If you feel up to braving the supermarket, here are some of the best foods you can buy in bulk to help ensure you’re still getting in the salt.
Whether it’s to accompany an evening watching Netflix and staying inside, or as a side dish to a salty breakfast, potato chips are a classic among people living with dysautonomia or POTS.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around 150 calories and 180 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: The expiration date for most chips is 2-3 months after purchase; however, that’s just the time it takes for crispness to fade. An unopened bag of chips can last for several months.
- Cost: The average bag of potato chips costs less than $1* per serving.
Most people think of broth as an accompaniment to soup or something that only has use during a seasonal cold. Many spoonies, on the other hand, sip broth like tea, enjoying it for all it’s warm, salty goodness.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around five calories and 330 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: Unopened boxes or cans of broth can last for more than a year. Once opened, the expiration date usually drops to within five days.
- Cost: The average can of broth costs less than $1 per serving.
Not for the faint of heart, jerky requires a little more effort to consume, due it’s tough texture. But it pays off by providing a large amount of protein and a salty punch: one serving can provide up to 700 mg of sodium. You can also experiment with different types, including beef, turkey, salmon, bison, etc.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around 110 calories and 700 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: Sealed packages of jerky can safely last for up to two years.
- Cost: Most jerky costs less than $2 per serving.
Like broth, bouillon can be sipped like tea on a cold day, or added to soup to make a dish even saltier. It also packs in the sodium, offering nearly 1 gram in each cube.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around 10 calories and 900 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: Properly stored, a package of bouillon cubes can safely last for up to two years.
- Cost: One cube of bouillon can cost less than $0.10.
Pickle juice is an acquired taste. Some people can stand it; others swear by it. If you’re among those who enjoy its flavor, it can also be a great way to consume extra sodium throughout the day.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around 15 calories and 450 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: Jarred pickles last between two months and two years, depending on how they were prepared and how they are stored.
- Cost: One serving of juice drained from a jar of pickles can cost around $2.
While not a “snack” in the typical sense, SaltStick Vitassium is a medical food specifically formulated to provide sodium and potassium for the clinical dietary management of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and Vasovagal Syncope, when increased plasma volume has been shown to be beneficial, so that you can Get Your Life Back®. Similar to the other items on this list, it’s both cost-effective and offers a long shelf life.
- Sodium Content: One serving provides around 0 calories and 500 mg of sodium.
- Shelf Life: If stored properly (dry and at room temperature), SaltStick Vitassium can last up to two or more years.
- Cost: One two-capsule serving costs less than $0.50.
If you live in the U.S. or Canada and you want to learn more about Vitassium, consider the SaltStick Vitassium Club. It’s free to join, and as a member, you’ll get access to a 20% discount on all our products, along with free shipping on orders worth $75 or more. Learn more about the Vitassium Club here.
*All prices listed in U.S. dollars
Disclaimer: Contact your physician before starting any exercise program or if you are taking any medication. Individuals with high blood pressure should also consult their physician prior to taking an electrolyte supplement. Overdose of electrolytes is possible, with symptoms such as vomiting and feeling ill, and care should be taken not to overdose on any electrolyte supplement.