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Women’s heart health: Potassium-rich foods may be key – Medical News Today

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Foods that are rich in potassium may help offset the harm of excessive salt, a new study suggests. Image credit: Dina Issam/EyeEm/Getty Images.

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
  • Diets high in sodium increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  • With the widespread consumption of processed food items, many people find it hard to limit their sodium intake.
  • Now, a study has found that, for women, a potassium-rich diet may combat the effects of a high sodium diet plan, and lower blood stress.
  • In men, however , the potassium-rich diet had no significant effect.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardio diseases (CVD) are the particular leading cause of death worldwide, ending some 17. 9 million lives each year.

In the United States, CVD causes 1 in 4 deaths in males, and 1 in 5 deaths in the entire population. A quarter of all deaths within the United Kingdom are due to CVD. Key risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, but diet is also a contributing factor.

A diet plan full of sodium is widely believed to increase the risk associated with high blood pressure. Processed meals, particularly ultra-processed foods , often contain high levels of salt, so many people find it hard to control their salt intake.

A study from the Netherlands, published in European Heart Journal , has found that women may be able in order to combat the particular effects of sodium by eating the potassium-rich diet, potentially decreasing their danger of CVD.

Prof. Tim Spector , co-founder of ZOE , told Medical Information Today :

“Well-conducted and large cohort — [the study was started] in the 90s which is actually quite a long time ago now: Our food environment and sources associated with sodium in the diet plan have changed quite a lot since then. The authors also recognize that drawing a clinically impactful conclusion from one 24-hour urine sample is the serious limitation. ”

The large-scale study took almost 25, 000 participants from your EPIC-Norfolk study within the U. K. Participants ranged inside age through 40 to 79, with mean ages of 59 for guys and 58 for women.

At the start of the study, all individuals filled out a lifestyle questionnaire. Researchers then measured their blood pressure plus collected an urine sample. They estimated dietary intake of sodium and potassium levels simply by measuring urinary levels associated with these two minerals.

Researchers analyzed the effect of potassium consumption on bloodstream pressure, after adjusting with regard to age, sex and salt intake.

In women, they found a negative correlation between potassium intake and systolic stress (SBP) — as intake increased, SBP decreased. The effect was greatest in those women who had the highest sodium consumption.

In ladies with a high sodium intake, every 1 gram increase in daily potassium was associated with 2. 4 millimeters of mercury ( mm/Hg) lower SBP.

“Lowering the SBP by just over 1 mm/Hg is not clinically significant in practice. What it does indicate is that will sodium intake alone is not the only factor we should be concentrating upon when preventing CVD, and personalized nutrition approaches are usually key in achieving optimal wellness outcomes, ” noted Prof. Spector.

The particular researchers found out no association between potassium intake plus hypotension within men.

The WHO recommends that adults should consume 3, 510 miligrams (mg) of potassium and no more than two, 000 mg of salt per day. Most adults currently have too much sodium and too little potassium in their diet.

To increase potassium consumption, a person should include foods that are rich in potassium within their diet.

These include:

  • bananas
  • sweet potatoes
  • dried fruits, such as raisins, apricots and prunes
  • beans, peas and lentils
  • seafood
  • avocados.

Prof. Spector offered similar advice, saying: “I think the advice you should be giving is to increase whole plant food items, naturally high in potassium, like avocados, legumes, artichokes, beets and apricots, and minimize ultra-processed meals which are usually often very high in sodium. ”

The particular researchers followed up along with participants right after a median of 19. 5 years, with the particular last recordings in March 2016. During this time, 55% were hospitalized or died due to CVD.

The researchers looked for any association among dietary potassium and cardiovascular events, having controlled regarding age, sexual intercourse, body mass index, salt intake, use of lipid-lowering drugs, smoking, alcohol intake, diabetes and prior heart attack or stroke .

They discovered that, overall, those with the highest potassium intake had a 13% decrease risk associated with cardiovascular events than all those with the lowest.

When analyzed separately, high potassium intake reduced the men’s risk by 7%, and the women’s by 11%. Dietary sodium did not influence the particular relationship in between potassium plus CVD.

“The results suggest that potassium helps preserve heart health, but that ladies benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of sodium intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart on top of increasing sodium excretion, ” explains study author Prof. Liffert Vogt , from Amsterdam University Medical Centers within the Netherlands.

Although higher potassium intake had the finest effect in those females with a high-sodium diet, current advice is to control sodium intake.

“Reducing salt intake alone does not really allow for the diet which improves health, it simply tries in order to reduce risk by removing a single component of meals, which is too reductionist, ” said Prof. Spector.

“The salt reduction program in the U. K. launched nearly 20 years ago offers helped decrease salt content in processed foods yet CVD prevalence has shown little evidence of change — reducing sodium intake is not the magic bullet in the fight against CVD, ” he pointed out there.

So, perhaps—particularly intended for women—increasing the intake associated with potassium-rich foods could be an effective way to try and protect cardiovascular wellness.

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