“It takes up to 15 exposures to a new food for someone to like it,” says MedStar Washington Hospital Center dietician Anyea Lovette, MS, RD, LD. Laytonsville, MD resident Jane Shaub put that fact to the test when she decided to slim down her salt servings.
Shaub had no reason to suspect her heart was ailing. She had no family history of heart disease. She had no symptoms. But during a routine doctor’s visit, Shaub learned she had high blood pressure. This condition could become dangerous if left uncontrolled.
She was given medication to treat her condition, but the side effects were unbearable. “I was on three or four different kinds of medication, but I couldn’t tolerate any of it,” said Shaub. “I wanted to lie down all the time, and I knew that wasn’t normal.”
Determined to keep her blood pressure controlled, Shaub started caring for her heart the old-fashioned way: no medication, just lifestyle changes. After a lifetime of eating whatever she pleased, Shaub began her dietary quest to conquer salt.
“I used to put salt on my butter before I’d spread it on my bread! It is a game for me now to read labels. My opponent is high blood pressure, and I want to win,” said Shaub.
With her husband’s support, Shaub has shed 10 pounds, and regained control of her blood pressure. By simply implementing an exercise routine and lowering her salt intake, Shaub has found her way back to good health.
“It took about a month to get used to the low salt, and you don’t want anything that’s salty anymore. It’s very distasteful,” remarked Shaub. She has even found foods she used to be fond of, such as pickles and olives, are too salty for her newly refined pallet.
Communicating with her doctor and taking charge of her health has given Shaub a great sense of accomplishment. “My biggest reward is that I have really done something for myself that’s really worthwhile, and I just feel so good, mentally, about myself. It's a great, great feeling to know that you have control over your life.”
“Listen to Your Heart” Message for Women: It's never too late to get heart healthy. For more tips, click here.
Listen to Your Heart: Women at Risk is a public service campaign co-sponsored by NBC4 and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.