Planning a Healthy Diet for POTS: A Definitive Guide

While medical intervention and care are indispensable in speedy recovery from ailments, these are not the only factors instrumental in nursing one’s health. Regardless of the nature and severity of the disease, a healthy diet and lifestyle always go a long way in prevention, intervention and cure. POT Syndrome or POTS is no different; however, patients grappling with this condition require specific nutritional care in conjunction with medical treatment to curtail its symptoms efficiently. So, what is POTS, what are its symptoms, and what dietary plan should POTS patients follow for a healthy and happy existence? Here’s a look: What is POT Syndrome?

  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POT Syndrome, or POTS,is a condition characterized by very low blood flow to the heart when the individual changes his/her position from lying down to standing up.
  • This reduced blood flow typically causes debilitating symptoms like increased heart rate, dizziness, light-headedness, chest pain etc. While a patient may lead a functional life at other times, these symptoms can occur at very severe intensities while s/he tries to stand up.
  • POT Syndrome is found to occur most commonly in women between the ages of 15 and 50 years. These symptoms may be aggravated after pregnancy or just before the patient’s menstrual cycle.
  • While there is no sure-shot cure for this ailment, certain tried-and-tested interventions and remedies can considerably help control its symptoms.

Diet Plan for POT Syndrome

Besides following a generally healthy diet plan, individuals with POTS also typically benefit from exercising specific dietary measures to control their blood pressure. Here are some such dietary tips for POTS patients:

  1. Increased Sodium Intake

One of the most common pieces of advice for POTS patients is to increase their sodium intake, typically in the form of the quantity of salt in their food. An increased concentration of sodium in the body is directly linked to increased blood flow in the body, which aids in controlling POTS symptoms like high palpitation rates. Usually, doctors recommend having salt-rich foods alongside increasing the quantity of salt in one’s regular meals. A minimum intake of 3,000 mg of salt in a day can make a significant difference in controlling POTS symptoms. However, it is advisable to incorporate this salt intake as a part of one’s regular food consumption rather than opting for highly processed foods.

  • Increased Fluid and Electrolyte Consumption

Having more fluids significantly increases the blood volume, facilitating better blood circulation and decreasing the frequency of POT Syndrome symptoms. Electrolyte-rich fluids further improve one’s blood flow and help eliminate other accompanying symptoms such as chest pain. Generally, consuming about 16 ounces of water before standing up can considerably help prevent light-headedness upon changing positions.

  • Small and Frequent Meals Throughout the Day

The digestive system requires increased blood flow to digest large quantities of food at once. Consequently, since POTS patients already have lower blood flow to their hearts, heavy meals can further prevent blood from flowing to the heart. Small and frequent meals spread out over the day can decrease the amount of blood required by the digestive system, thus increasing the blood flow to the heart.

  • Controlling the Carbs

Similarly, incorporating a large proportion of carbohydrates in one’s meals increases the blood flow to one’s digestive system. As a result, the blood flow to the heart decreases, aggravating the symptoms in POTS patients. Having a balanced diet with smaller quantities of carbs and more proteins and vitamins can help POTS patients control symptoms like rapid heartbeat and dizziness.

  • Checking for Gluten Intolerance

A study revealed that 4% of POTS patients also had celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains and cereals but in a particularly large proportion in wheat and its by-products, including refined flour and semolina. This protein is also found in other grains such as oats, barley and rye. Upon consuming foods rich in gluten, gluten-intolerant persons may typically display adverse reactions such as rashes, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation, headaches, chronic fatigue etc. While many patients with POTS may not be gluten intolerant, it helps to be mindful of how one’s body reacts to the consumption of specific food items, especially those containing gluten in sizeable quantities.

  • Minimizing or Avoiding Alcohol Consumption

Besides the general ill-effects that alcohol entails, it also plays havoc with the blood pressure and flow in the body. Thus, it is always advisable for POTS patients to either strictly restrict or abstain from all types of alcohol.

Conclusion

In addition to the above health and diet tips, doctors recommend POTS patients to follow a nutritious and balanced diet consisting of all the vital nutrients that can replenish the body and provide sufficient energy. Food intake is one of the most essential sources of strength and nutrition, and following some basic dietary tips can contribute to a POTS patient’s speedy recovery.