Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Bananas and salmon ‘help reduce negative effects of salt in women’s diets’ – study

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Eating foods like bananas, avocados and salmon could help reduce the negative effects of salt in women’s diets, new research finds.

The study found that a high-potassium diet was associated with lower blood pressure, particularly in women with high salt intake.

Researchers say their findings show the mineral helps maintain heart health, but that women benefit more than men.

According to the study, the relationship between potassium and heart damage was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart besides increased urinary sodium excretion.

Study author Professor Liffert Vogt from Amsterdam University Medical Centres, Netherlands, said: “It is well known that high salt consumption is associated with increased blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Health advice has focused on limiting salt intake, but this is difficult to achieve when our diets include processed foods.

“Potassium helps the body eliminate more sodium in the urine.

“In our study, dietary potassium was associated with the greatest health benefits in women.”

The study included 11,267 men and 13,696 women from the Epic Norfolk Study, which recruited 40- to 79-year-olds from general practice in Norfolk, UK, between 1993 and 1997.

Everyone filled out a lifestyle questionnaire, blood pressure was measured, and a urine sample was taken.

Sodium and potassium in urine were used to estimate food intake.

Researchers analyzed the link between potassium intake and blood pressure and found that potassium intake (in grams per day) was associated with blood pressure in women.

They found that as intake of the mineral increased, blood pressure went down.

When the association after salt intake was analyzed, the association between potassium and blood pressure was observed only in women with high sodium intake.

During a median follow-up of 19.5 years, 13,596 people were hospitalized or died from cardiovascular disease.

Overall, they found that people with the highest potassium intake had a 13% lower risk of cardiovascular events than those with the lowest intake.

When men and women were analyzed separately, the risk reduction was 7% and 11%, respectively.

The amount of salt in the diet did not affect the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events in men or women, the researchers found.

Prof Vogt said: “The results suggest that potassium helps maintain heart health, but that women benefit more than men.

“The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium may have other ways to protect the heart besides increased sodium excretion.”

The NHS recommends that adults (aged 19-64) need 3,500mg of potassium per day and should be able to get this through their daily diet.

Foods rich in potassium include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, 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.

Tracy Parker, Senior Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “This research supports current advice that reducing our salt intake and eating more potassium-rich foods may be the recipe for a healthier heart.

“An easy way to increase your potassium intake is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

“Other foods like legumes, fish, nuts, seeds and milk are also high in potassium and low in salt, so they can benefit your heart.

“However, staying healthy isn’t just about monitoring what’s on your plate.

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