How to Lower Your Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio

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The potassium content material in greens is certainly one of two methods they’ll enhance artery perform inside minutes of consumption.

Greater than a thousand years in the past, for the therapy of hypertension, an historic Persian medical textual content advised way of life interventions, akin to avoiding meat and pastries, and advisable consuming spinach. A thousand years later, researchers discovered {that a} single meal containing spinach might certainly cut back blood stress, because of its nitrate content material. All inexperienced leafy greens are filled with nitrate, which our physique can use to create nitric oxide that improves the flexibleness and performance of our arteries. This can be why eating our greens could also be one of the crucial highly effective issues we will do to cut back our persistent illness danger.

As you’ll be able to see at 0:54 in my video Lowering Our Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio to Reduce Stroke Risk, simply switching from low-nitrate greens to high-nitrate greens for per week can lower blood stress by about four factors, and the upper the blood stress folks began out with, the larger profit they received. 4 factors may not sound like rather a lot, however even a 2-point drop in blood stress might prevent greater than 10,000 deadly strokes yearly in the US.

Potassium-rich meals may act through an identical mechanism. If we get even simply the minimal advisable every day consumption of potassium, we’d prevent 150,000 strokes yearly. Why? Potassium seems to extend the discharge of nitric oxide. One week of consuming two bananas and a big baked potato each day considerably improved arterial perform. Even a single high-potassium meal, containing the equal of two to a few bananas’ value of potassium, can improve the perform of our arteries, whereas a high-sodium meal—that’s, a meal with the quantity of salt most individuals eat—can impair arterial perform inside 30 minutes. Whereas potassium increases nitric oxide launch, sodium reduces nitric oxide launch. So, the well being of our arteries could also be determined by our sodium-to-potassium ratio.

As you’ll be able to see at 2:30 in my video, after two bacon slices’ value of sodium, our arteries take a big hit inside 30 minutes. Nonetheless, in case you add three bananas’ value of potassium, you’ll be able to counteract the consequences of the sodium. As I present at 2:48 in my video, after we developed, we have been eating ten occasions extra potassium than sodium. Now, the ratio is reversed, as we devour extra sodium than potassium. These sorts of research “present extra proof that will increase in dietary potassium ought to be inspired,” however what does that imply? We should always eat extra beans, candy potatoes, and leafy greens, the latter of which is like providing you with a double whammy, as they’re excessive in potassium and nitrates. The advice from a thousand years in the past to eat spinach is fairly spectacular, although bloodletting and abstaining from intercourse have been additionally inspired, so we must always in all probability take historic knowledge with a grain of salt—however our meals ought to be added-salt free.

Why would possibly abstaining from intercourse not be the most effective thought for cardiovascular well being? As a result of the other may very well be true. See my video Do Men Who Have More Sex Live Longer?.


What else can we do about stroke danger? Take a look at:

For extra on potassium, see in Potassium and Autoimmune Disease and 98% of American Diets Potassium-Deficient.

Excited by studying extra in regards to the risks of sodium? See:

Sodium isn’t simply dangerous for our arteries. Take a look at How to Treat Asthma with a Low-Salt Diet and Sodium and Autoimmune Disease: Rubbing Salt in the Wound?.

I additional discover the wonders of nitrate-rich greens in:

Candy potatoes are a wonderful high-potassium, low-sodium alternative, however what’s the easiest way to organize them? Take a look at The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes.

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: Should you haven’t but, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free movies here and watch my dwell shows:

 





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