The importance of electrolytes, especially their balance and multiple organ functions cannot be overstated. So which organs are dependent on the balance of our electrolytes? All of them. Today we will go over one of them, the heart.
Some of you might remember the frog’s leg experiments from junior high school. In it, a frog’s leg, in water, would have either sodium (table salt – NaCl) sprinkled on it or potassium (KCl). When sodium is put in, the leg would contract and when potassium is added, the leg would relax. Now think about the actions of the heart muscle. It contracts and relaxes in order to pump blood around the body. The contraction is known as the systolic phase of blood pressure and the diastolic is the relaxing phase.
As I mentioned in the previous blog about electrolyte balance, the Western diet takes in more sodium than necessary but even more troubling is the low potassium intake. If this were just an occasional problem, the effect on blood pressure would be minimal. The problem is, this is a chronic problem that people face over decades. Too many people neglect to get the right balance of electrolytes.
According to an article entitled “Worldwide epidemic of hypertension” published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology in 2006, they write the following “The World Health Report 2002 identified hypertension, or high blood pressure, as the third ranked factor for disability-adjusted life years. Hypertension is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death worldwide. Recent analyses have shown that as of the year 2000, there were 972 million people living with hypertension worldwide, and it is estimated that this number will escalate to more than 1.56 billion by the year 2025.”
Given this problem, what is the solution given our knowledge base? First off, we do need to reduce sodium intake. That is not a difficult thing to do if we’re willing to work on it. The number one method of reducing sodium is stop eating prepackaged, premade fast food. Most fast foods contain amounts of sodium that equal the daily recommended allowance of 2,400 milligrams. Cut that out and you go a long way in reducing systolic hypertension.
Second thing to do is to up your potassium intake. We should get about 4,700 milligrams but the typical Western diet only gets half. Increasing potassium intake means more fresh fruits and vegetables as well. Here is a list of the top ten foods with the highest levels of potassium per 100 grams.
White Beans, dark leafy greens, baked potatoes, dried apricots, baked acorn squash, yogurt (plain), fish like salmon, avocados, white mushrooms and bananas (maybe why the Minions are so relaxed).
Another way to increase potassium while not getting high amounts of sodium are the KTS Revive Electrolytes which have a 2-1 ratio of potassium over sodium.
Whatever you do when it comes to electrolytes, make sure that you follow the concept of balance.