Increasing This Nutrient Lowers Sodium

A diet high in sodium can be unhealthy for you.  The typical american diet consists of packaged, processed, and refined foods, which are usually loaded with sodium.  High sodium is associated with high blood pressure, which can lead to other cardiovascular complications.  When it comes to blood pressure there is a lot of focus on sodium, but we should also be concerned about sodium’s electrolyte antagonist potassium.  

Potassium can help reduce the unhealthy effects of high sodium levels.  When potassium levels are higher than sodium, the body releases excess sodium and water weight.  On the other hand, when sodium levels are high, potassium is leached from your body and excreted.  When you combine limiting your sodium intake with increasing your potassium intake, your body is better able to keep sodium levels lower.

Potassium also fortifies digestive enzymes to improve sugar disposal, fat metabolism, brain function, lung respiration and joint health.

How much potassium should you consume each day? There is no recommended daily allowance for potassium, but most nutritional experts recommend between 11/2 and 2 grams a day. Athletes may need more, because they use more electrolytes than sedentary individuals.  Some great sources of potassium are avocados, winter squash, and cherries, flounder, and salmon.  

Tips For A Successful Low Sodium Diet:

-It is recommended that healthy individuals <51 years old limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams a day.  Individuals >51 years old, or that have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes should keep their sodium intake below 1,500 milligrams.

-Try not to add salt to your food.  If you do, use sea salt or himalayan salt.  Their potassium content helps to modulate sodium levels.  Table salt is stripped of other minerals during processing.  

-Prepare as many of your meals as possible yourself, so that you are in control of your sodium intake.  Try to eat out less often as there is no way for you to know how much salt is being added to your food.  

-Avoid packaged foods, because sodium is often added to improve taste and to increase the shelf life of the food.   

-Include high potassium foods in your diet like winter squash, avocados, and cherries.