Posts Tagged ‘potassium’

Worth your salt?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Salt and sodium

Salt can be addictive. For anyone who has even overindulged in chips and salsa, or those delicious barbeque-flavored kettle chips-you know what I’m talking about.  And of course, our bodies need salt to survive, but we (as Americans especially) tend to overdo it.  I recently came across a Japanese study that indicates a diet lower in sodium and higher in potassium can lessen the incident of stroke and cardiovascular disease:

In a prospective study involving 58,730 Japanese men and women with no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer, aged 40-79 years, results indicate that high sodium intake and low potassium intake may be associated with an increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease. During 745,161 person-years of follow-up, 986 deaths from stroke (153 subarachnoid hemorrhages, 227 intraparenchymal hemorrhages, and 510 ischemic strokes) and 424 deaths from coronary heart disease were recorded. Sodium intake was observed to be positively associated with mortality from total stroke, ischemic stroke, and total cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for confounders, the highest quintile for sodium intake was associated with a 55% increased risk of total stroke related mortality, a 104% increased risk of ischemic stroke related mortality, and a 42% increased risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of sodium intake. On the other hand, potassium intake was inversely associated with mortality from coronary heart disease and total cardiovascular disease, where the highest quintile for potassium intake was associated with a 35% reduced risk of coronary heart disease related mortality and a 27% reduced risk of total cardiovascular disease related mortality, compared with the lowest quintile of potassium intake. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “A high sodium intake and a low potassium intake may increase the risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.”

This study provides compelling evidence to shake the salt habit and instead trying seasoning your life with healthier spices!  To up your potassium intake, try eating more sweet potatoes, bananas, raisins, white beans, and clams!  Orange juice is a great source of potassium too.

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Want to learn more about healthier eating and better cardiovascular health?  Read our health archives.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37609, “Relations between dietary sodium and potassium intakes and mortality from cardiovascular disease: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risks,” Umesawa M, Tamakoshi A, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 88(1): 195-202. (Address: Department of Public Health Medicine, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, and the Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan).

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