How to Lower Your Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio


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

Greater than a thousand years in the past, for the remedy of hypertension, an historical Persian medical textual content advised life-style interventions, equivalent to avoiding meat and pastries, and beneficial consuming spinach. A thousand years later, researchers discovered {that a} single meal containing spinach might certainly scale back blood strain, due to its nitrate content material. All inexperienced leafy greens are full of 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 probably the most highly effective issues we will do to cut back our continual illness threat.

As you possibly can 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 every week can lower blood strain by about 4 factors, and the upper the blood strain folks began out with, the higher profit they obtained. 4 factors may not sound like rather a lot, however even a 2-point drop in blood strain might prevent greater than 10,000 deadly strokes yearly in america.

Potassium-rich meals can also act through an analogous mechanism. If we get even simply the minimal beneficial each 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 every single day considerably improved arterial operate. Even a single high-potassium meal, containing the equal of two to a few bananas’ price of potassium, can improve the operate of our arteries, whereas a high-sodium meal—that’s, a meal with the quantity of salt most individuals eat—can impair arterial operate inside half-hour. 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 possibly can see at 2:30 in my video, after two bacon slices’ price of sodium, our arteries take a big hit inside half-hour. Nonetheless, if you happen to add three bananas’ price of potassium, you possibly can counteract the consequences of the sodium. As I present at 2:48 in my video, once we developed, we have been eating ten instances 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 must 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 should always in all probability take historical knowledge with a grain of salt—however our meals must be added-salt free.

Why would possibly abstaining from intercourse not be the very best concept 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 threat? Try:

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

Serious about studying extra concerning the risks of sodium? See:

Sodium isn’t simply dangerous for our arteries. Try 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 superb high-potassium, low-sodium alternative, however what’s one of the best ways to arrange them? Try The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes.

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: When you haven’t but, you possibly can subscribe to my free movies here and watch my stay displays:



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