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Less Sodium and More Potassium are Associated with Lower Cardiovascular Risk

by Sheila Nelly

Do you like salty food? How much sodium and potassium do you consume every day? A study found that lower sodium intake and higher potassium intake are associated with lower cardiovascular risk.

Too much sodium increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

London, UK (Merxwire) – Are you one of them? The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that the daily intake of sodium for adults should be less than 2000 mg, but most people exceed the recommended intake. A new study found that less sodium and more potassium may be a healthier diet. The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Less sodium and more potassium

In order to assess the intake of sodium and potassium, the research team measured the sodium content of subjects through a 24-hour urine sample. They conducted an average 9-year follow-up study of more than 10,000 subjects to analyze sodium and potassium-related data, as well as the incidence of diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

The research team identified 571 cardiovascular events during the follow-up period and found that higher sodium intake was significantly associated with cardiovascular disease. Researchers pointed out that for every 1000 mg increase in sodium excretion, the risk of cardiovascular disease will increase by 18%, and for every 1000 mg increase in potassium excretion, the risk will be reduced by 18%.

How high sodium diet affects health

“Sodium” is one of the nutrients needed by the human body, but excessive sodium intake can harm your health. The WHO has pointed out that sodium intake is directly related to blood pressure, and excessive sodium intake can cause high blood pressure. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) also pointed out that salt and salted foods may increase the risk of stomach cancer.

In 2014, a study published in NEJM found that daily sodium intake exceeded the recommended standard for adults in 181 countries (about 99.2% of the adult population in the world). In addition, 1.65 million people died of cardiovascular disease due to excessive sodium intake in 2010.

For another example, China is one of the countries with the highest salt intake globally, and almost 30% of fatal strokes in those younger than 70 years are attributable to high consumption of sodium. The research was published in British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2020.

Bananas contain potassium, a nutrient needed by the human body. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

Which foods contain potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral nutrient for the human body. It helps maintain electrolyte balance, helps the body excrete sodium, and helps nerve and muscle cells function. The WHO recommends that the daily potassium intake for adults is 3510mg.

What foods should we eat to get potassium? Good sources of potassium include red meat, chicken, salmon, cod, sardines, soy products, and some fruits. Vegetarians can eat raisins, passion fruit, avocado, banana, or kiwi to supplement potassium.

Although sodium and potassium are essential nutrients for the human body, we must still consume them in moderation! Especially for patients with chronic diseases or kidney disease, because the body’s metabolic function is poor, it is necessary to pay more attention to sodium and potassium intake. Establishing good eating habits, daily routines, and regular physical examinations can make the body healthier.

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