Because of these two facts, a lot of people have been told by their doctors to stop eating this…
…and to start eating this…
And they aren’t happy about it.
But, maybe there is another way. Maybe, instead of labeling salt as a BAD FOOD, and banning it from our diets altogether, we can balance out the hypertensive effect of sodium with the hypotensive effect of potassium.
If only we had some proof…
Earlier this year, researchers found that “the ratio of sodium-to-potassium was a much stronger predictor of hypertension and cardiovascular disease than sodium or potassium alone”.
“There isn’t as much focus on potassium, but potassium seems to be effective in lowering blood pressure and the combination of a higher intake of potassium and lower consumption of sodium seems to be more effective than either on its own in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Paul Whelton, senior author of the study in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
In this study, researchers determined average sodium and potassium intake of their test subjects.
They collected 24-hour urine samples intermittently during an 18-month period in one trial and during a 36-month period in a second trial.
The 2,974 study participants initially aged 30-to-54 and with blood pressure readings just under levels considered high, were followed for 10-15 years to see if they would develop cardiovascular disease.
Yikes….20% more likely to suffer a stroke. Better ditch that salt shaker…..right?
According to this study, the ratio of potassium to sodium in your diet is more important to the health of your heart than the overall consumption of sodium.
NOTE: That doesn’t mean you should go crazy with the double bacon cheeseburgers.
So, it’s probably safe to assume that you are part of the majority.
How much potassium do you need to help balance out the salt?
How do we get more potassium?
- Good potassium sources include fruits, vegetables, dairy foods and fish.
- Foods that are especially rich in potassium include potatoes and sweet potatoes, fat-free milk and yogurt, tuna, lima beans, bananas, tomato sauce and orange juice.
- Potassium also is available in supplements. However, most potassium supplements come in dosages of 50mg . To get your daily 5 grams, you would need to take 100 pills.
So, maybe we should listen to the good doctor and “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –