Why potassium plays a big role in blood pressure and heart health

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Salt is something we all use to make our food taste better. But eating too much salt can be bad for our hearts and blood pressure.

Many people know that high salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, which is a big risk for heart disease.

But there’s good news from researchers at Amsterdam University. They’ve found a simple way to help fight the bad effects of salt: eat more potassium.

Potassium is a nutrient that’s in lots of healthy foods like bananas, avocados, and fish like salmon. It’s really good at balancing out the negative impact that too much salt can have on our blood pressure.

This discovery came from a big study with more than 24,000 people who were between 40 and 79 years old. The researchers were looking at how a diet high in potassium can be especially helpful for women who tend to eat a lot of salt.

How Potassium Helps Keep Blood Pressure in Check

Potassium works by helping our bodies get rid of extra salt through our urine. This is great for keeping our blood pressure at a good level.

The study showed that people who ate more potassium generally had lower blood pressure. This was especially true for women who had a high salt intake.

After following the participants for about 19.5 years, they found that more than half of them had either been hospitalized or died because of heart problems. But those who ate the most potassium had a 13% lower risk of these issues compared to those who ate the least.

Even more interesting, the positive effects of potassium were seen no matter how much salt someone ate. This means potassium doesn’t just help get rid of salt; it also does other good things for our hearts.

How Much Potassium and Salt Should We Eat?

The World Health Organization recommends that adults eat at least 3.5 grams of potassium every day and keep their salt intake below 2 grams (which is about the same as 5 grams of table salt).

To give you an idea, a medium banana has around 375 mg of potassium, a piece of cooked salmon has about 780 mg, a potato has around 500 mg, and a cup of milk has about 375 mg.

One way to eat better for our hearts is for food companies to use less regular salt and more potassium salt in processed foods. This could help everyone eat less salt and more potassium without having to think about it too much.

Also, choosing fresh foods over processed ones is a good move. Fresh foods are naturally high in potassium and low in salt, which is great for heart health.

The big takeaway from the Amsterdam University study is clear: eating foods high in potassium can help protect our hearts, especially when we also try to eat less salt. Making sure to include plenty of potassium-rich foods in our diet is an easy and effective way to take care of our hearts.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about unhealthy habits that could increase high blood pressure risk, and people with severe high blood pressure should reduce coffee intake.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and results showing plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure.

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