Les aliments riches en potassium améliorent la santé cardiaque des femmes

Presse Santé

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. High-sodium diets increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. With the widespread consumption of processed foods, many people find it difficult to limit their sodium intake. A study has just revealed that, in women, a high-potassium diet can combat the effects of a high-sodium diet and lower blood pressure. In men, on the other hand, a diet rich in potassium does not have a significant effect.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. The main risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, but diet is also a contributing factor.

In general, a diet high in sodium is believed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Processed foods, especially ultra-processed foods, often contain high levels of salt, which is why many people struggle to control their sodium intake. A Dutch study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that women can combat the effects of sodium by eating a diet rich in potassium, which can reduce CVD risk. A large and well-conducted cohort, the study began in the 1990s, which is far from the case today: our food environment and sources of dietary sodium have changed a lot since then. The authors also acknowledge that drawing a clinically meaningful conclusion from a 24-hour urine sample is a major limitation.

A greater effect in women.

The large-scale study involved almost 25,000 participants from the EPIC-Norfolk study in the UK. The participants were between 40 and 79 years old, with an average age of 59 for men and 58 for women. At the start of the study, all participants completed a lifestyle questionnaire. The researchers then measured their blood pressure and took a urine sample. They estimated dietary intake of sodium and potassium by measuring urinary levels of these two minerals. The researchers looked at the effect of potassium intake on blood pressure, after adjusting for age, gender and sodium intake.

In women, they found a negative correlation between potassium intake and systolic blood pressure (SBP), the higher the intake, the lower the SBP. The effect was greatest in women with the highest sodium intake. In women with a high sodium intake, each increase of 1 gram of daily potassium was associated with a 2.4 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) decrease in SBP. A drop in SBP of just over 1 mm/Hg is not clinically significant in practice.

What this indicates is that sodium intake is not the only factor we need to focus on to prevent cardiovascular disease, and that personalized nutritional approaches are key to achieving optimal health outcomes.” . The researchers found no association between potassium intake and blood pressure in men.

Potassium rich foods

The WHO recommends that adults consume 3,510 milligrams (mg) of potassium and no more than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. Most adults currently consume too much sodium
and too little potassium in your diet.

To increase potassium intake, a person should include potassium-rich foods in their diet.

Among these are

– bananas
– sweet potatoes
– dried fruits, such as raisins, apricots and prunes
– beans, peas and lentils
– shellfish
– the lawyers.

Professor Spector offered advice along these lines: “I think the advice we need to give is to increase whole plant foods that are naturally rich in potassium, such as avocados, pulses, artichokes, beets and apricots, and minimize ultra-processed foods that are often very high in sodium. »

cardiovascular diseases

The researchers followed up the participants after a median of 19.5 years, with the latest records going back to March 2016. During that time, 55% were hospitalized or died due to cardiovascular disease. The researchers looked for any association between dietary potassium and cardiovascular events, after controlling for age, gender, body mass index, sodium intake, use of lipid-lowering medications, smoking, of alcohol, diabetes, and a history of heart attack or stroke.

They found that, overall, people with the highest potassium intakes had a 13% lower risk of cardiovascular events than people with the lowest intakes. Analyzed separately, high potassium intake reduced the risk by 7% in men and 11% in women. Dietary sodium did not influence the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular disease.

The results suggest that potassium helps maintain heart health, but women benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart besides increasing sodium excretion.

Another way to protect cardiovascular health?

Although higher potassium intake had the greatest effect in women on high-sodium diets, current advice is to limit sodium intake. Reducing sodium intake alone does not lead to a health-improving diet, it is simply trying to reduce risk by removing a single component from the diet, which is too reductionist.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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