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Excessive Sodium Intake

A sodium shakedown to take note of.

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Graphic showing sodium intake and lower potassium

With so much focus being placed on added sugars in our diets, we should make sure not to lose sight of the potential health woes of excessive sodium intake.

A research paper in The New England Journal of Medicine found the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attack in 10,709 adults increased by 18% for each 1,000 milligram daily increase in sodium excretion. The study authors say that analyzing 24-hour urinary excretion over multiple days is a more accurate method of assessing sodium intake than relying on self-reported consumption.

On the flipside, the risk decreased 18% with every 1,000 mg daily increase in potassium excretion. The findings also showed that a higher sodium-to-potassium ratio was linked with greater cardiovascular risk. So fewer salty packaged foods and fast foods and more potassium-rich edibles like legumes, fruits and veggies seems like a prescription for better heart health.

See also: Does Sodium Intake Concern You?

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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