Keeping a Good Balance Between Sodium and Potassium Is Essential for Heart Health

Keeping a Good Balance Between Sodium and Potassium Is Essential for Heart Health

Image courtesy of jackthumm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jackthumm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sodium and potassium ratio is a crucial factor for heart health. When this ratio is in a good balance, our blood pressure remains stable within a normal range. However, salt has been considered as the main culprit for high blood pressure for many years. Doctors suggest their patients a diet with as little as possible salts. They thought that the salt affected blood pressure and heart health in a negative way. On the other hand, recent researches show that the role of potassium is a big one. Many patients with high blood pressure do not show any significant change in its reduction by avoiding salt. On the contrary, patients who increased daily intake of potassium have experienced the lowering in their blood pressure. This research does not suggest that we should eat salt without limits. It emphasizes the role of potassium as the important one in lowering high blood pressure. According to medical experts, decreasing the salt intake below the recommended daily value is not a good decision. It influences cholesterol and blood pressure in a bad way. To find out more about the balance between sodium and potassium and its effect on our heart health, the excerpt from the article “The Power in Potassium” describes the following research and its results.

Keeping a Good Balance Between Sodium and Potassium Is Essential for Heart Health

“Potassium can help neutralize sodium’s heart-damaging effects,” says Elena Kuklina, MD, PhD, author of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year. Her findings, that an out-of-balance sodium-to-potassium ratio may increase the risk of heart disease (as opposed to a simple problem of too much salt), joins a growing body of research that shows how potassium can help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Those who ate a lot of salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from cardiovascular-related events than those who ate equal amounts of both nutrients. Potassium relaxes blood vessel walls and helps regulate the body’s fluid balance, so the more you have, the better your body is able to deal with (that is, better able to excrete) excess sodium. It’s not necessarily a get-out-of-jail-free card, but it’s something anyone concerned about sodium needs to pay attention to.

If we want to keep the salt to its minimum, one tablespoon a day will be enough, according to the American Heart Association. However, medical experts warn us that it is very easy to exceed this limit. Namely, processed foods, especially canned foods and delicatessen contain much more salt than it is recommended. According to nutritionists, 3/4 salt consumption comes from processed foods. If we want to be certain about salt intake, we need to get rid of processed foods, or at least of delicatessen. On the other hand, if we want to keep a good balance between sodium and potassium, we need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods like broccoli, kale, prunes, winter squash, oranges, grapefruits, spinach, raisins, bananas, and nuts, are highly rich in potassium. Their regular presence in our diet will not only reduce blood pressure, but will also prevent our bodies from developing kidney stones, arrhythmias, and osteoporosis.

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