Less Sodium, More Potassium: A Better Balance
Steam dark leafy green veggies like kale or collard greens and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice instead of salt
The connection between sodium intake and the risk of death hasn't always been clear. But a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine recently found that there's more to the equation than sodium alone. Potassium, found especially in fruits and vegetables, can offer some added protection against dying from heart disease.
Adding up the risk
The new study used information from 12,267 US adults, in which they recalled what they ate over the course of a day. The study was part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, investigating the influences of sodium and potassium on the body. They were also looking at the ratio of sodium-to-potassium in the diet, on all causes of death, and heart disease over the course of 15 years. From the dietary recall information, researchers estimated usual daily intakes of sodium, potassium, and calories.
Here's what they found:
"From a public health point of view, reduced sodium intake accompanied by increased potassium intake could achieve greater health benefits than restricting sodium alone," said lead study author, Quanhe Yang from the Office of Public Health Genomics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Say goodbye to salt
Try these tips to keep your sodium intake down while upping your potassium quotient.
(Arch Intern Med 2011;171:1183-91)
Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation's premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.