Heart Beat:: December 2010

While lowering sodium consumption has become an accepted and strongly encouraged aspect of heart health around the world, there is a growing effort by physicians to encourage more potassium intake to further improve blood pressure management. In an article in the Sept. 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, Dutch researchers suggest that if adults could average the recommended level of 4.7 grams of potassium daily, average systolic blood pressure would be lowered by up to 3.2 mm Hg. That would help lower stroke mortality by eight to 15 percent and heart disease mortality by six to 11 percent. A healthy balance of potassium and sodium is crucial to controlling blood pressure. Potassium helps blunt some of the negative effects of sodium. Researchers say that individuals can get their optimal amount of potassium simply by following dietary guidelines that include eating more fruits and vegetables.
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