When it comes to cardiovascular health, the go-to recommendation is usually to cut sodium intake.
When it comes to cardiovascular health, the go-to recommendation is usually to cut sodium intake. It is a longstanding belief of many experts that high sodium intake contributes to problems such as stroke, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. But a new study points to the increase of other electrolytes – potassium and magnesium – as being key to reducing adverse heart health outcomes, not lowering sodium.
The authors of the study collected dietary data from 2,300 adults between the ages of 30-65 over a four year period. They also looked at the participants’ overall lifestyle, health and cardiovascular disease risk. They analyzed the data and here is what they found.
- Lower sodium intake below 2,500mg a day did not decrease cardiovascular disease risk.
- Higher potassium intake over 3,000mg a day decreased cardiovascular disease risk by 25%.
- Higher magnesium intake over 320mg a day decreased cardiovascular disease risk by 34%.
Potassium is an electrolyte that already plays an important role in the proper functioning of the heart. It is found in foods such as avocados, bananas, potatoes, and some beans.
Magnesium is just as important when it comes to heart health and maintaining a normal heart rhythm. It is found most abundantly in leafy greens, nuts and seeds.
This study shows that potassium and magnesium play a much more important role in heart health than previously thought. And instead of focusing on cutting sodium intake which most people find difficult to achieve, raising potassium and magnesium levels may be the way forward for the future of heart health.