Adding potassium and subtracting sodium may equal better heart health

There continues to be some debate about the importance of reducing dietary salt to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. But a study published online Nov. 13, 2021, by The New England Journal of Medicine strongly suggests that limiting sodium and increasing potassium intake leads to better heart and blood vessel health.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from six studies, which together included more than 10,000 healthy adults. Levels of sodium and potassium in periodic urine samples were used to determine the relative amounts of these chemicals in the participants’ diets (higher urine levels correlate with greater intake of sodium and potassium). Researchers looked to see who went on to experience a heart attack or stroke or had a procedure to open a clogged artery over a median follow-up period of 8.8 years. During that time, 571 of the participants experienced one of these cardiovascular events.

After controlling for other risk factors, the researchers found that for every extra 1,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium detected in the urine, there was an 18% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. For every extra 1,000 mg of potassium in the urine, there was an 18% decrease in risk.

The study shows the importance of taking steps to reduce your sodium intake. As long as you have normal kidney function, it should also nudge you to incorporate more potassium-rich foods into your diet. Good choices include bananas, leafy greens, dairy products, and beans.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Through this process, the priest will purify you before the Lord, making you right with him, and you will be forgiven for any of these sins you have committed.” (Leviticus 6:7)

The priest will then purify him before the Lord with the ram of the guilt offering, and the man’s sin will be forgiven. (Leviticus 19:22)

In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” (Numbers 14:19

Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. (Numbers 14:20)

With it the priest will purify the whole community of Israel, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. For it was an unintentional sin, and they have corrected it with their offerings to the Lord —the special gift and the sin offering. (Numbers 15:25)

The whole community of Israel will be forgiven, including the foreigners living among you, for all the people were involved in the sin. (Numbers 15:26)

The priest will sacrifice it to purify the guilty person before the Lord, and that person will be forgiven. (Numbers 15:28)

“At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. (Deuteronomy 15:1)

This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord ’s time of release has arrived. (Deuteronomy 15:2)

This release from debt, however, applies only to your fellow Israelites—not to the foreigners living among you. (Deuteronomy 15:3)

Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 15:9)

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