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Potassium-Enriched Salt Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk, Research Suggests

New research suggests that using a potassium-fortified alternative as a replacement for regular salt may help lower older adults’ risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The study, involved roughly 2,000 elderly Taiwanese men that were divided into 2 groups. The first group of men were randomly assigned to eat meals prepared with potassium-enriched salt, while the second had meals made with regular salt.

According to the researchers, over the following 30 month period, the men given the salt alternative were 40 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

The salt alternative was composed of half sodium chloride and half potassium chloride and not only helped the men cut their sodium intake, but they also gained a substantial increase in their potassium consumption.

The researchers say in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that the boost in potassium may have been largely responsible for the lower risk of cardiovascular death as a number of studies have suggested that diets high in potassium may help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Some great choices of foods for potassium include: raisins, bananas, melon, beans and potatoes.

Potassium is an electrolyte needed for maintaining the fluid balance in the body. It also plays a role in proper nerve and muscle control, as well as blood pressure regulation.

According to the study co-author Dr. Wen-Harn Pan, a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica in Taipei, the new findings suggest perhaps by protecting blood vessel function, potassium may also help lower the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Pan told Reuters Health that she suspects that a diet high in potassium-rich fruits and vegetables could be even more beneficial than just replacing the salt.

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and low-fat dairy, and limiting salty processed foods are essential non-negotiable’s for controlling blood pressure and risk of heart disease.

Now with these new findings, Pan says potassium-enriched salt offers a “convenient and fast way” to alter the diet’s sodium-potassium ratio.

Frank Mangano’s commentary: 

She’s right on the money with that statement and the use of potassium-enriched salt may just save many lives.

*Important note* It is possible for the body’s potassium levels to become too high. This is particularly true of older people who have kidney dysfunction or are taking certain medications. These individuals should consult a professional health care practitioner prior to using potassium-enriched salt substitutes or potassium supplements.

However, don’t mistake salt as an entirely bad thing. Sodium is essential to your body’s functioning and all salt is NOT the same.

Avoid table salt, which is refined and start using unrefined sea salt, which contains naturally occuring minerals. I also recommend you read my article on man made salt.

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Comments

Comment from delfi marino
Time March 23, 2007 at 1:01 am

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