Many a times, nutritional guidelines pay extra emphasis on the foods to be avoided rather than focusing on foods that should be consumed. Now, a study considering 2185 teen girls has revealed that there are a lot of health benefits associated with sticking to a potassium-rich diet rather than one which is low in salt.
Previous studies have already shown that potassium could reduce the negative effects of salt on high blood pressure.
“An increased potassium intake may reduce the risk of death and cardiovascular disease through its effects on blood pressure, or it may simply be a marker of healthy dietary patterns that are rich in potassium (e.g., high consumption of fruit and vegetables),” the researchers said.
The consumption of potassium is known to play a direct role in improved health, and also, it encourages the focus on the consumption of healthy foods. Infact, it has also been found that potassium, which is a chemical found in certain foods naturally, also aids in heartbeats, and helps the kidneys function much more effectively, and also reduces blood pressure.
The findings of this new study, which are now published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, followed the girls for a period of 10 years, and measured their sodium and potassium intake, the ratio between these two salts, and also their blood pressure levels.
Their findings revealed surprising facts- there was no evidence to suggest that high sodium intake could cause elevated adolescent blood pressure levels.
“However, higher potassium intakes were inversely associated with blood pressure change throughout adolescence,” the researchers explained.
“It may be that potassium is more of a determinant of blood pressure than sodium is,” they added. “The kids who consumed the most potassium had much lower blood pressures by the end of adolescence. What we need to focus on is increasing potassium intake rather than focusing on restricting sodium intake.”
According to the World Health Organization, a potassium intake of atleast 3150 mg/day is needed for adults. A single banana contains around 420 mg, while a baked potato could give you 700 mg of this crucial mineral.
Kale, spinach and avocadoes also turn out to be excellent sources of potassium, packing in as much as 900 mg in a single serving.