According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, a potassium-rich diet can help women improve their health by lowering blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Women who consume high amounts of sodium showed lower blood pressure when they consumed more daily potassium. Scientists found that each additional gram of potassium consumed decreased systolic blood pressure by 2.4 mmHg. Blood sodium levels decreased as potassium levels increased in the diet.
Over 25,000 participants were examined to determine how potassium affects blood pressure. 55% of participants in the study were females, while 45% were males.
An Expert’s Perspective
Dr. Howard Weintraub, cardiologist, and clinical director, says potassium lowers the risk for cardiovascular disease and improves heart health and blood pressure. Despite the authors’ acknowledgment, Dr. Weintraub notes there was only one urine sample per participant in this study.
Experts still wonder why women? Women who consumed high amounts of sodium were found to have the strongest associations with lowering blood pressure. Experts are still puzzled why they did not find the same for men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease causes one in four deaths in men and one in five deaths in women worldwide. Heart disease risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. A diet high in sodium and processed foods is also a risk factor.
Studies show that eating potassium helps the kidneys eliminate sodium in the blood, lowering blood pressure. According to Dr. Weintraub, lower blood pressure can reduce cardiovascular risk over time.
He says, “As a prevention specialist in the cardiovascular arena, we’ve always talked about limiting sodium intake; that has been a specific issue. The diet we encourage is the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to save lives.”