Potassium salt is often used as a substitute for regular sodium chloride salt (the salt you find on your kitchen table), and for good reason. Most people in the United States take in too much salt on a daily basis, which may put them at risk for hypertension, heart attacks and strokes.
Likewise, many times, as people take in too much salt, they lack the correct amount of potassium. Potassium salt provides a "half-salt" substitute, which incorporates the flavoring benefits of sodium chloride salt with the health benefits of a serving of potassium.
What Are the Risks of Sodium Chloride?
Sodium is an essential part of your body and comes from sodium chloride. It works to keep your fluids balanced, while helping your muscles contract and relax. But your body can take in too much sodium, which weights your blood with water. When high sodium is combined with a low potassium level, it becomes difficult for your heart to pump blood through your body, causing high blood pressure.
Since there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, many people don't even know they are at risk until they are stricken with a heart attack, stroke, or find they have heart disease.
Others who take in too much salt fall victim to kidney disease, because their kidneys are forced to work overtime to excrete the extra water held by sodium ions from their bodies. Kidney disease and high blood pressure can both be prevented by controlling sodium intake and increasing potassium.
Who Should Consider Using Potassium Salt?
The average American should take in less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day in order to stay healthy. This includes eliminating or limiting the amount of processed, pre-packaged and extremely salty foods.
People that are prone to high blood pressure, hypertension or prehypertension should consider substituting regular sodium chloride salt for potassium salt. Since potassium salt consists of only half sodium chloride, making the switch will subtract at least half of your regular daily sodium intake, provided the same amount of salt is used in meals.
Certain other factors exist that could increase the need for potassium salt. Middle-aged and older adults require a lesser amount of sodium in their diets to remain healthy (less than 1,500 mg per day). Because bodies naturally work harder with age, keeping sodium intake at a minimum, including a complete switch to potassium salt, can greatly reduce the risk of high blood pressure and worse consequences.
African-Americans generally have a higher rate of hypertension and high blood pressure than Caucasian persons. Along with a minimized intake of fried, salty foods and packaged meals, sodium chloride salt can be exchanged for potassium salt to lessen risks of heart disease and high blood pressure, especially in middle-aged and older African-Americans.
Using potassium salt offers a simple alternative to table salt as it allows the continued use of salt in cooking and as a seasoning, but encourages a healthier lifestyle at the same time.
Although those afflicted with high blood pressure or risk of high blood pressure are most likely to benefit from potassium salt, it can be a healthy lifestyle change for anyone.