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Heart Health

Sodium/potassium ratio important for health

September 1, 2011

Sodium is often blamed for boosting blood pressure while potassium is praised for keeping it in check. It really doesn't make sense to look at these two minerals separately, though, since they work in tandem throughout the body. The ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet may be more important than the amount of either one alone.

Our Paleolithic hunter-gatherer ancestors took in about 11,000 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day from fruits, vegetables, leaves, flowers, roots, and other plant sources, and well under 700 mg of sodium. That's a sodium-to-potassium ratio of 1 to 16. Today, we get more sodium (3,400 mg) than potassium (2,500 mg), for a ratio of 1.36 to 1.

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