Does Potassium Even Out Sodium Levels?
Does potassium combat sodium in the body? This question arose a while back when I saw these little yogurt shots that boasted the promise that the potassium in them would "flush sodium" from the body. Being that Americans eat so much salt, this is definitely worth looking into.
If you've read Sodium: a word of caution then you already know that high levels of sodium can be damaging to the body by increasing blood pressure; this can lead to cardiovascular disease and other issues. Recent studies have suggested that by increasing your potassium intake, you can reduce your risk of heart problems caused by sodium.
The recommended daily intake of potassium is 4,700 mg and sodium is 2,400 mg. Sadly, in America's fast-paced atmosphere more and more people are going for quick meals and TV dinners. Some studies show that people are actually getting over 4,000 mg of sodium and around 2,000 mg of potassium daily, opposite of what the ratio should be.
Note: while studies regarding a proper potassium-sodium balance have shown to reduce blood pressure, scientists are not yet sure what exactly the potassium does in the body to counteract sodium. One theory is that potassium helps expel excess sodium from the body so it doesn't back up into the blood.
Potassium is found in a variety of foods ranging from meats, milk, fruits and vegetables. Where it is not common is in frozen meals, and at the same time one frozen dinner may have 30-40% of the daily recommended sodium intake. To combat the risk of high blood pressure, simply start eating more fresh foods in place of McDonald's or frozen dinners, and try replacing a cup of soda for that of milk or orange juice. Your body will thank you for it.