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A survey published by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has studied the relation between mortality and the intake of sodium and potassium using a nationally representative. The study reveals that U.S. adults’ health is at risk.
According to it, a diet high in potassium and low in sodium reduces risk of death by a 50 percent. U.S. adults consume and average of 3,300 milligrams of sodium, more than twice the current recommended limit for most Americans. The results of the study show that a change in Americans’ diet is necessary to lower health risk.
The research was designed along with researchers from Emory University and Harvard University to assess the health and nutritional status of adults in the United States. As a result, findings show that people who reduce their sodium intake and increase their potassium consumption improved blood pressure and reduce risk for developing other serious health problems.
Elena Kuklina, M.D., Ph.D., an investigator on the study and a nutritional epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention said “the study provides further evidence to support current public health recommendations to reduce sodium levels in processed foods, given that nearly 80 percent of people’s sodium intake comes from packaged and restaurant foods. Increasing potassium intake may have additional health benefits.”
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that people choose more potassium-rich foods, advising 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. The guide also suggests that healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day while individuals with high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day. For example table salt is 40 percent sodium; one teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium.
Potassium, along with calcium and sodium, is an electrolyte important to the human nervous system, muscle function, fluid balance and heart, kidney and adrenal functions. However unlike sodium, potassium is naturally present in many fresh foods such as milk, vegetables and yogurt. Processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, and ham and canned soups and vegetables are all examples of foods that contain added sodium. Fast food is generally very high in sodium.
Nutritionists recommend choosing smaller-sized servings. Consider splitting fast food meals to reduce the amount of calories and fat by asking for a “doggy bag” or simply leaving the excess on the plate. To help supplement and balance a fast food meal, choose nutritious options such as fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt available as sides.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet advises eating more potassium and less sodium. It is recommended by the National Institutes of Health, which reminds people that variety and moderation are the key principles in providing a healthy diet for children as well as adults.