For A Healthier Heart, Consume More Potassium And Less Salt

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 18, 2021

You might just want to pick up a banana and put down the salt shaker.

According to a new study that involved over 10,000 adults, having more potassium and less sodium in your diet has been linked to a low risk of heart disease.

Consume More Potassium And Less Salt For A Healthier Heart

The first study author, Yuan Ma, noted that confusion had been caused regarding the current levels of salt in the diet by observational studies in the past.

Those fears should be put to rest by the new data.

He explained that their study combined high-quality data from individual participants from 6 different studies where the amount of sodium was measured by the most reliable method, which was currently collecting multiple urine samples.

He added that sodium’s role in CVD should be clarified by their results and that a lower risk of CVD has been associated with lower consumption.

One of the components of table salt is sodium. It also naturally occurs in some foods.

To commercially processed, packaged, and prepared foods, much higher amounts are added frequently.

In fruits like bananas, leafy greens, nuts, beans, starchy vegetables, and dairy, potassium naturally occurs. This helps in relaxing blood vessels, so it has the opposite effect of sodium.

The researchers explained that sodium excretion is also increased while blood pressure is decreased.

Ma, in the new study, conducted a pooled analysis of data from 6 major studies.

The individual sodium and potassium excretion data were analyzed by them. This included the incidence of heart disease like coronary heart disease and stroke. Coronary heart disease includes heart attacks.

In order to measure a person’s sodium intake, the most reliable method is to assess multiple 24-hour urine samples.

Over 10,000 healthy adults contributed to the study. Follow-ups of cardiovascular events for an average of almost 9 years were conducted.

Ma’s team, after documenting over 570 strokes, heart attacks, and other heart ‘events’ in the data, concluded that higher heart risk was significantly associated with higher salt intake in a dose-response manner with a range of daily sodium intake of about 2,000 mg to over 6,000 mg in others.

It was found by the new study that the risk for a person to develop heart disease rose by about 18% for every 1,000 mg per day increase in sodium excretion.

Conversely, the risk of heart disease was 18% lower for every 1,000 mg rise per day in potassium excretion.

The team concluded that increased cardiovascular risk was significantly associated with a higher sodium-to-potassium ratio.

Frank Hu, the senior author of the paper, said that the importance of utilizing a reliable biomarker in order to measure habitual sodium intake and look at its association with the risk for cardiovascular disease is underscored by this study.

He added that public health strategies are advocated for by the findings of this study. This includes regulations, promoting healthy dietary patterns, and food labeling which helps reduce the intake of sodium and increase the intake of potassium.

Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietician said that gold standard evidence is offered by the findings of the study as to why too much salt in the diet is bad for you.

She said that the proof in the pudding is put by this and when you can visualize the outcomes of a high sodium diet, you don’t need any better evidence.

She added that everyone has access to the urine tests that were used in the new research. She said that people did not even need to sacrifice the taste of food as they could enhance the flavor by adding low sodium alternatives, and herbs and spices.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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