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Sodium, Potassium & Our Ticking Heart

Thursday, September 29, 2011
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Sodium, Potassium & Our Ticking HeartWith all the online chatter about sodium and potassium being critical minerals for good health–its odd that most of us can’t seem to consume the right quantities of either. As life imitates art – we are consuming too much of sodium which we shouldn’t and too little of potassium which we should.

So, what are the recommended numbers -The recommended daily sodium amount is 2300mg per day (equal to 1 tsp of salt, BUT if you have hypertension or diabetes, heart disease or chronic kidney disease you should consume less – 1500mg). As it stands most of us consume way too much.

Regarding potassium the recommended daily allowance is 4.7 grams.



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User Comments

11 November, 2011 | Sandeep | Reply

Sandeep There is one danger on the flip side -Older adults usually become ill with hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), due to age-related causes that affect the way the body handles the balance of sodium and water.
They will have symptoms like drowsiness or excess fatigue, nausea,
headache, confusion, restlessness, loss of consciousness or coma.
This condition is more commonly seen when they are on certain medication like diuretics, anti depressants and pain medication. Vomiting, diarrhea, drinking excessive amounts of water, urinating less, and of course major illnesses like Heart & Kidney failure are the other causes for low blood sodium.

17 August, 2011 | Tanmay | Reply

Tanmay Though potassium is widely available in fruits and vegetables if you eat a highly processed diet, it is very likely that you will not get enough. Besides the recommendation is that you take in five times more potassium than sodium, but since most diets especially in America are processed they invariably are high in sodium and most people get two times more sodium than potassium.
Its therefore vital that we chose fresh produce over processed and also home cooked to eating out to get the best out of vegetables and fruits.

14 August, 2011 | Jyothi | Reply

Jyothi Hw about with the patients with low BP? Should they take high sodium diet? and what about potassium intake.....????

25 July, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar For people who have high BP,DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is best for lowering blood pressure and not potassium supplements. The DASH diet is higher in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and lower in total fat, saturated fat, and sodium than the typical American diet and make a big difference to health overall.

25 July, 2011 | Ashritha Prasad | Reply

Ashritha Prasad Both my parents are hypertensive and my grandmom died of cardiac arrest. Now I have a question, if we substitute our pure sodium chloride with potassium salt in the daily cooking can we prevent and control hypertension?

26 July, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Dear Ashritha
Unfortunately NO!! AS the study suggests if we eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (suggested by USDA/NIN) we get more than adequate amount of potassium in our diet. Simultaneously we also get adequate fiber and other phyto nutrients that are present in the vegetables and fruits also add value to health.
There are 3 reasons why we cannot simply substitute table salt with potassium salts
1. Potassium salts if eaten in high amounts as a pure ion (not as part of natural foods) can cause injury to the gastric or intestinal mucosa. It can also be dangerous to kidney patients
2. Its bitter to taste, if eaten in high concentrations as the primary salt
3. It is much more expensive than table salt.
So in the interest of overall and continued good health it is best we add a limited of sodium salt (table salt) in our daily diet and ensure we get adequate potassium through natural foods.
Its also important that you include a good work out for around 40-45 mt sand have good life style. (as suggested by Mrinal in her reply)

25 July, 2011 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Hi Ashritha,
There are a few preventive measures you can take with your diet and lifestyle to help lower your risks -
1. Eat a balanced diet high in fiber and dietary potassium (whole grains, lentils, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables)
2. Include heart healthy fats into your diet - nuts, avocados, salmon, tuna to help raise your HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad)cholesterol.
3. Include 45 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week.
4. Get annual checkups - BP, lipids etc

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Tags: Cardiovascular Disease, Diet, Fitness, Health Hazards, Healthy Lifestyle, Heart Health, Hypertension, Men's Health, Nutrition, Potassium, Renal Diseases, Sedentary Lifestyle, Seniors Health, Sodium, Ulcers


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