Women who eat bananas, avocados and salmon could reduce the negative effects of salt in the diet, according to a study published in “European journal of the heart“.
“High salt intake is known to be associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes,” says study author Liffert Vogt, of the Amsterdam University Medical Centers (The Netherlands). “Health advice has focused on limiting salt intake, but this is difficult to achieve when our diet includes processed foods. Potassium helps the body excrete more sodium in the urine. In our study, dietary potassium was associated with the greatest health benefits for women. »
The World Health Organization recommends adults consume at least 3.5 grams of potassium and less than 2 grams of sodium (5 grams of salt)
The studio included 24,963 participants (11,267 men and 13,696 mujeres) from the EPIC-Norfolk studio, which recruited a personas of between 40 and 79 años de edad between 1993 and 1997. La edad media era de 59 años para los hombres y de 58 años for women. Participants completed a lifestyle questionnaire, had their blood pressure measured, and collected a urine sample. Urinary sodium and potassium were used to estimate dietary intake.. Participants were divided into tertiles based on sodium (low/medium/high) and potassium (low/medium/high) intake.
The researchers examined the association between potassium intake and blood pressure after adjusting for age, sex and sodium intake. Potassium intake (in grams per day) was associated with blood pressure in women: as intake increased, blood pressure decreased.
When the association was analyzed by sodium intake (low/medium/high), the relationship between potassium and blood pressure was observed only in women with a high sodium intake, where each 1 gram increase in potassium daily was associated with a 2.4 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure. In men, no association between potassium and blood pressure was observed.
During a median follow-up of 19.5 years, 13,596 (55%) participants were hospitalized or died of cardiovascular disease. Researchers analyzed the relationship between potassium intake and cardiovascular events after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, sodium intake, use of lipid-lowering drugs, smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, and previous heart attacks or strokes.
Findings suggest potassium helps maintain heart health, but women benefit more than men
Across the cohort, people in the highest tertile for potassium intake had a 13% lower risk of cardiovascular events than those in the lowest tertile. When men and women were analyzed separately, the corresponding risk reductions were 7% and 11%, respectively. The amount of salt in the diet did not influence the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events in men or women.
“The results suggest that potassium helps maintain heart health, but 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 to protect the heart besides increasing sodium excretion,” says Vogt.
Foods rich in potassium are vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, dairy products and fish. For example, a 115 gram banana contains 375 mg of potassium, 154 grams of cooked salmon contains 780 mg, a 136 gram potato contains 500 mg, and a cup of milk contains 375 mg.
“Our results indicate that a heart-healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt and increasing potassium. Food companies can help by switching from standard sodium-based salt to an alternative to potassium salt in processed foods. Also, we should all prioritize fresh, unprocessed foods because they are high in potassium and low in salt,” Vogt concludes.