Healthy Eating: Flippity-Flop the Potassium and Salt

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Cindy’s taking some rare time down the first part of this week, but faithfully left this look at what we eat for me to post in her stead.  Enjoy that massage, girl!

On average, Americans eat twice as much sodium (salt) as potassium, just too darn much of the stuff — and much of it unknowingly.  Since convenience is king, most Americans still buy lots of processed foods which contain oodles of sodium.  If you’re leaving the grocery store with most of your goodies in a can or box, it’s highly likely you’re consuming much more than the 2300 milligrams of sodium recommended by The American Dietetic Association.

The truth is, salt makes food taste better — so what’s a salt-lover to do?

Findings from a new study at Loyola University Chicago provide interesting insight into the intriguing and ever-sexy world of dietary minerals.  Turns out encouraging a more intimate relationship between potassium and sodium may have some really important heart health benefits.

“Potassium and sodium are like peas in a pod, except they’re in opposite pods,” says epidemiologist Paul Whelton, president and chief executive of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago and one of the authors of the study. “This is the first study to show that the two together give you a benefit over and above what you can get with either one.”

Healthy eating might mean simply consuming half as much sodium as potassium.  The recommended daily intake of potassium is around 4,700 mg — twice as much as sodium. But researchers speculate that more potassium may even ‘soften the blow’ of higher amounts of sodium.  What are good sources of potassium?  Fruits (especially dried fruits like apricots, raisins and dates), avocados, nuts, beans, potatoes (both white and sweet) and brightly-colored vegetables.

We read and review lots of studies here at A Weight Lifted, and more often than not, it comes back to what your grandma told your momma, and hopefully your momma told you , “Eat your fruits and vegetables, eat fresh, and use salt to taste — preferably from your own hand.”

 


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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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