Potassium Good for the Heart; Vindication Good for the Soul

Mike posted this article today among the “In The News” bits: Potassium Salt Substitute Is Good for the Heart. Once again, the day’s headlines trumpet ground-breaking nutritional news, hot off the press, so new, so revolutionary, and so cutting-edge…at least it was when we wrote about it in the LifePlan 6 years ago and, before that, in Protein Power 10 years ago. Actually, even farther back, Mike advocated switching to potassium based salt substitutes in Thin So Fast, 16 years ago.

If vindication is good for the soul, our ethereal selves must be in fine shape by now.

Still, the message is a good one–we would all be better off increasing our consumption of potassium and reducing the consumption of sodium. We can do that by choosing to eat higher potassium foods, such as tomatoes, artichokes, yellow peppers, daikon, winter squash, nori (seaweed), edamame, black soybeans, spinach, turnip (and other dark leafy) greens . Or we can augment it by substituting a little “No Salt” for table salt in cooking to spiff up the potassium content. Or we can take a good potassium/magnesium supplement. The unifying theory here is to get more potassium for better health.

Based on the premise of this “new and groundbreaking research” about potassium enrichment and heart disease, just one look at the list of potassium-rich foods above might help to explain (at least to some degree) the lower rates of heart disease in countries like Japan. (And yet another reason why a diet, such as Protein Power, is also good for the heart.)

As we wrote so long ago now, by design, we’re best suited to a diet high in potassium. Our ancient ancestors subsisted on the very roots, shoots, nuts, and berries and naturally mineralized waters that provided them with a diet far richer in potassium and magnesium than we get today and with far less sodium. We’ve known it for eons. Now, apparently, medical science confirms it. So, go ye forth and eat a diet higher in potassium… just like we’ve always told you to do.

Like I said, vindication is good for the soul.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Potassium Good for the Heart; Vindication Good for the Soul

  1. I have been trying to convince my wife to do the very same thing, but she thinks that she read somewhere the body’s need for iodine and that table salt is our best source of it. Is this true? What effect does iodine have on the body? Do these potassium salts still have iodine?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Your wife is absolutely correct that the body must have iodine; it’s required for making thyroid hormone. Without enough of it, humans will develop a thyroid goiter, which they routinely did in bygone times in inland areas where there was no access to seafood (which contains iodine.) Goiter disappeared once the notion took hold of adding iodine to salt. So, iodized table salt is an easy to get, good source of iodine, but it can be had in shellfish and in vitamin/mineral supplements, too. One good compromise is using Morton’s Lite Salt, which is half iodized sald and half potassium chloride and will instantly cut sodium intake from salt by half and increase potassium at the same time.

  2. Any idea what the ideal sodium and potassium ranges are? This review paper seemed to suggest a sodium/potassium ratio less than 1

    http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/1/1/2

    Loren Cordain in the Paleo Diet books seems to suggest the more potassium the better (which I doubt is his real opinion, but the books seem to suggest that).

    COMMENT from MD EADES: More potassium is better and from my many conversations with Loren about the subject, I think that is his ‘real’ opinion.

    PS, you were in the Junk folder again. I can’t figure out why. It may be that you preview your comment after typing in the code word and the act of previewing somehow undoes the code and you have to do it again. Better, just make it the last thing you do before you hit save.

  3. I bought Morton Salt Substitute today. In addition to potassium chloride, the ingredients include fumaric acid, tricalcium phosphate and monocalcium phosphate. Any of those ingredients strike you as less than desirable?

    Also, there’s a warning label that says “consult a physician before using any salt substitute.” Is there any upper limit for a heathly adult? PPLP only has warnings for people on medication.

    COMMENT from MD EADES: We use Morton’s Lite Salt ourselves, without worry. People who take certain potassium conserving medications (usually for blood pressure) and people with poorly functioning kidneys need to worry about getting too much, but the rest of us, usually not. Normal kidneys can handle a mild excess without undue strain.