Global nutritional guidelines are encouraging us to reduce sodium in the foods we make for ourselves and in the processed foods we buy from the supermarket. In addition, many Western populations are also being recommended to increase their dietary magnesium and potassium intake to offset current deficiencies.
It seems as if the plea to “cut out salt” from our foods is actually a plea to re-align the mineral ratios in our diets. Thousands of years ago, when humans roamed the earth gathering and hunting, potassium and magnesium were abundant in the diet, while sodium was scarce. The so-called Paleolithic diet delivered about 16 times more potassium than sodium. Today the average diet contains around twice as much sodium as potassium and 25 times as much sodium as magnesium. Harvard Medical School have indicated that this imbalance is at odds with how humans evolved and is thought to be a major contributor to high blood pressure. The importance of potassium - Harvard Health. The situation is that sodium now dominates our diets and few processed foods contain sufficient magnesium or potassium to balance the sodium from added salt (1) .
Heart Health Minerals – A Complex Dynamic
There seems to be a complex dynamic between minerals for heart health, notably the balance between potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. For example, we know that low magnesium status in the body causes a low potassium state even when potassium is adequate in our diet. However, if magnesium is adequate in the diet, potassium can help normalise blood pressure. It is clear to see how important it is that potassium and magnesium are adequate in the diet to improve high blood pressure and related health issues (2).
How to Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure
The World Health Organisation recommends a reduction in sodium intake and an increase in potassium intake from food to reduce blood pressure and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart disease (3,4). We know that diets that emphasize greater potassium intake can help keep blood pressure in a healthy range compared with potassium-poor diets DASH Diet Foods for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) (webmd.com).
One way to change the mineral balance of foods we make at home, eat at restaurants or buy from the supermarket is to use Suölo®, Reduced Sodium Sea Salt and seasonings. These products contain 50% less sodium than sea salt or table salt but with the added health benefits of potassium and magnesium. But the great thing is that you don’t have to compromise on taste for these health benefits because Suölo® Reduced Sodium Sea Salt and seasonings contain a balanced ratio of potassium and magnesium which positively affects taste (5-8). This means that Suölo® can provide MORE FLAVOUR with LESS SALT.
- Rosanoff, A and Clemens, R . Managing Magnesium in a Sodium-Dominant Era. International Food Technology, 2010, Vol. 64.
- Houston, M.C. et al., Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium: Their Role in Both the Cause and Treatment of Hypertension. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2008, Vol. 19.
- WHO.Guideline: Sodium intake for adults and children. Geneva : World Health Organisation, 2012.
- WHO. Guideline: Potassium intake for adults and children. Geneva : The World Health Organisation, 2012
- Mitchell, H. Be Smart With Minerals. Innovations in Food Technology. February 2014.
- Mitchell, H. Smart Salt: Tastes like Salt, Preserves like Salt, Handles like Salt. Innovations in Food Technology. November 2014.
- Mitchell, H. Chapter 5: Developing Products for Consumers with Low Sodium/Salt Requirements in Developing Products for Consumers with Specific Dietary Needs. Edited by Steve Osborn and Wayne Morley. London : Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science , Technology and Nutrition: Number 300, 2016
- Mitchell, H. Balancing Minerals for Good Health. Innovations in Food Technology. February 2013.