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If I had a dollar for every time a doctor told me to cut down on my salt intake… my kids’ college funds would be well-padded.
It’s no secret that studies have shown that eating too much salt can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket.
But cutting down on salt is next to impossible…
Sure, you can remove the shaker from your dining table, ignore it at restaurants and say no to the gravy, sauces and dressings — but unless you’re preparing all your meals from scratch, salt is an inescapable given.
But what if there was something that countered salt’s bad effects? Sort of a “kryptonite” that weakened its ability to raise blood pressure?
Sound too good to be true?
Well, this time it’s not…
Research has found — that for women at least — a heart-healthy nutrient can lower blood pressure, even in salty diets, and are urging women everywhere to start eating these foods…
The relationship between salt and potassium
“It is well known that high salt consumption is associated with elevated blood pressure and a raised risk of heart attacks and strokes,” says Professor Liffert Vogt of Amsterdam University Medical Centers, the Netherlands. “Health advice has focused on limiting salt intake but this is difficult to achieve when our diets include processed foods. Potassium helps the body excrete more sodium in the urine.”
Armed with these facts, the professor and his research team set out to determine just how important potassium really is in managing the blood pressure dangers of salt.
So they accessed the health data of almost 25,000 participants between the ages of 40 and 79, a near-even split between men and women, and compared their blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular events to their sodium and potassium intake from their diets.
And the results were clear…
There’s an inextricable link between potassium consumption and blood pressure — but dietary potassium was linked with the greatest health gains for women, per Professor Vogt.
The team found that as potassium intake went up, blood pressure went down. Specifically, for every one gram increase in daily potassium, women benefitted from a 2.4 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure.
And these benefits were seen most clearly in women who ate a LOT of salt.
What about the men? While their benefits weren’t as significant as the women’s, they weren’t left out in the cold completely…
The researchers followed up with all of the participants for 19.5 years. And after adjusting for all confounding factors, like age, sex, body mass and more, they discovered that people who consumed the most potassium in their diets had a 13 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who got the least.
Getting more potassium in your diet
When asked about the results of the study, Professor Vogt had this to say: “The results suggest that potassium helps preserve heart health, but that women benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart on top of increasing sodium excretion.”
This is great news, but I do have one warning…
Just because potassium acts like salt kryptonite for blood pressure, don’t throw all caution to the wind. Too much salt has other effects on the body that are far from healthy…
Salt negatively impacts your body’s production of nitric oxide — a compound that relaxes and widens the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow.
A high sodium diet could leave you with immune system problems and open to infection as well.
Now, how to get more potassium into your diet…
To protect your heart and have better blood pressure, these foods should be on your list to eat regularly:
- Bananas (Green bananas have a special added benefit)
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens
And be sure to watch out for warning signs that you may be deficient in potassium since many of us don’t get enough of the vital nutrient in our diets.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!