HealthDay News — Women with a high sodium intake appear to benefit most from higher potassium intake with respect to systolic blood pressure (SBP), according to a study published online July 21 in the European Heart Journal.

Rosa D. Wouda, M.D., from the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, and colleagues conducted an analysis on 11,267 men and 13,696 women from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. Twenty-four-hour excretion of sodium and potassium was estimated, reflecting intake. The associations between potassium intake, SBP, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) events were examined.

The researchers observed interaction by sex for the association between potassium intake and SBP after adjustment for confounders. The inverse slope between potassium intake and SBP was steeper in those within the highest versus the lowest tertile of sodium intake among women, but not men. Higher potassium intake was associated with a lower risk for CVD events in men and women; the hazard ratio associated with higher potassium intake was lower in women than men.


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“Our findings indicate that a heart healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt to boosting potassium content. Food companies can help by swapping standard sodium-based salt for a potassium salt alternative in processed foods,” a coauthor said in a statement. “On top of that, we should all prioritize fresh, unprocessed foods since they are both rich in potassium and low in salt.”

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