Potassium IntakePotassium is an essential mineral for our overall health. It plays a role as a key element to keep our blood pressure under control and prevent hypertension, the condition which very often is a warning sign for such serious cardiovascular diseases as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or others. A proper potassium intake is linked to great kidney function and excellent muscle strength. Potassium is a mineral which supports our brain function (it assists in carrying oxygen to our brain) and helps us in maximizing the effectiveness of fighting against stresses and anxiety. Finally, potassium ensures proper utilization of energy and plays a role in speeding up metabolism. That is why it is very important to add natural sources of this mineral to our daily diet. Those include bananas, peaches, potatoes, cantaloupe, red snapper, oranges, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, pineapples, spinach, pecans, almonds, prunes, acorn squash, and many others.

According to the recent findings of a research group from the UN World Food Programme, Imperial College London and Warwick Medical School, a proper daily potassium intake combined with reduced salt consumption can be a key factor for lowering our stroke risk. The findings published a few weeks ago in the British Medical Journal suggest that adding to our daily diet plenty of natural sources of potassium and reducing our salt consumption can be very beneficial for lowering blood pressure and preventing strokes. Both health conditions are very common in modern people, and unfortunately, strokes are among the most common causes of death, especially premature death in both men and women. Stroke RiskThe findings were very highly regarded by many nutritionists and health care specialists, and based on this findings, the World Health Organization issued new guidelines on potassium intake. As the new guidelines suggest, the daily consumption of potassium should not be lower than 4 g, or 90-100 mmol.

During the study, the experts analyzed the finding of 22 previous researches related to potassium and salt consumption and the effects on these factors on stroke risk. The number of participants of all the studies totaled about 128,000 people. After the preliminary analysis it became apparent that adding just 1-2 portions of potassium-rich foods to our daily diet can substantially help us in controlling our blood pressure and preventing hypertension. Further analysis has shown that consuming 4 g of potassium per day is linked to 24 per cent lower stroke risk in adults. And it is possible to achieve maximum effects provided daily potassium intake is combined with reduced salt consumption since high concentrations of salt in the body are linked to increased risk for cardiovascular diseases including strokes.The main source of the data related to salt consumption was a related study by an expert group by the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary, University of London, which included the trials involving over 34,000 participants, both men and women.

According to the report about the study, there are possible benefits of a proper daily potassium intake and lowered salt consumption in children as well, however, additional studies are necessary to confirm this theory. According to Graham MacGregor, one of the study leaders, in order to decrease our risk for hypertenstion and stroke risk we need to reduce our salt consumption by at least 50 per cent. “In the UK on average our dietary salt intake is 9.5g, so we are talking about bringing this down to 6g, or if you’re very careful you can get it down to the recommended 5g – but it’s very difficult because of the amount of salt already in the food we buy,” he said. He underlined that bread is found to be one of the most important sources of salt in our daily diet. As it is recommended by UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), we should decrease our daily salt consumption to just 3 g a day in adult people. Also, Professor MacGregor pointed to the fact that salt and potassium work in opposite way, and combining two factors (low salt and high potassium) can help us achieve really great effects.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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