Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sodium and Processed Foods

"Watch your Sodium intake"... we've all heard that before, but rarely does anyone mentions Potassium.

Sodium is an electrolyte, an important mineral used within the body for maintaining water balance, acid-base balance, muscle and nerve function, heart function, as well as kidney and adrenal function, but more importantly than the amount of sodium required for optimal health is the ratio of Sodium to Potassium... another very important electrolyte.

It's no secret that the sodium intake in most Americans diets is way too high, but what most people don't realize is that the lack of dietary potassium intake at the same time is equally if not more concerning.

Research shows that excessive sodium chloride along with diminished potassium is a common cause of high blood pressure.

In most Americans diets only 5% of sodium intake comes from natural ingredients in foods they eat, while prepared foods contribute to nearly 45% and condiments contribute another 5%. This is no surprise since the American diet consists heavily of processed foods, leading to a potassium to sodium ratio of less than 1:2... the recommended dietary potassium to sodium ratio is greater than 5:1 which is a potassium intake 10 times higher than the average person gets.

Now for the shocker... Since many fruits and vegetables have a potassium to sodium ratio of at least 50:1, a natural diet rich in fruit and vegetables can product a ratio greater than 100:1. That's nearly 200 times greater than the average person gets with a diet high in processed foods.

You do the math!

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