Less salt and more potassium lower heart disease & stroke risk?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reduction of dietary salt and increase in dietary potassium lower the risk of heart disease and stroke in adults.
WHAT WE KNOW
The current U.S. dietary recommendation is to consume not more than 2,300mg of sodium per day. Processed foods generally contain higher amounts of sodium than less refined products. Lunch meats, cheeses, commercially-prepared meals, breads, canned soups, and certain condiments are all generally high in sodium. (Lower sodium versions of these products are becoming more available, be sure to read the label.) Fruits and vegetables are naturally lower in sodium. One teaspoon of salt has 2,400 mg of sodium, which means one teaspoon can meet your daily recommendation of less than 2,300 mg per day. High-sodium diets are positively correlated to pre-hypertension and hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.
Potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, have long been recommended as a dietary defense against heart disease and other chronic illnesses. A potassium-rich diet blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure due to sodium and potassium’s interchangeable relationship in the body. According to three recent studies, a decrease in dietary sodium and an increase in potassium may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in adults.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
Three recent studies reviewed prior research on sodium and potassium intakes and how they relate to heart disease and stroke. The first study reviewed data from 34 clinical trials, and researchers found that a modest reduction in dietary salt intake led to a decrease in blood pressure as well as decreased risks for heart attack, stroke and heart failure.¹ The second study examined 56 previous studies and revealed similar findings to the first study.² The third study included 33 clinical trials and more than 128,000 adults. Researchers found that increased potassium intake reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension and was associated with a 24% lower risk of stroke.³
Include lots of fruits and veggies in your daily diet! Remember, most fruits and vegetables are low in sodium and higher in potassium, see our list of most frequently consumed fruits and vegetables to compare sodium and potassium content.
Make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily and try to be aware of the salt content in foods you are eating by learning how to read food labels!
Try some of our healthy menus for diets that meet both your potassium and sodium recommendations!
¹ ”Effect of Longer Term Modest Salt Reduction on Blood Pressure: Cochrane Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Trials.” BMJ2013;346:f1325 View Article
² Effect of Longer Term Sodium Intake on Health: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” BMJ 2013;346:f1326 View Article
³ Effect of Increased Potassium Intake on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” BMJ 2013;346:f1378 View Article