The Biggest Risk Factor for Heart Disease Nobody Is Telling Us

sodium potassium ratio
Article by ross

Today’s video is SUPER important. It’s about something that so few people are talking about, teaching, aware of or looking at – but it could perhaps be THE single most important risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA…in Australia 9 in 10 adults have one or more risk factors…but this is the biggest, nobody is warning us and it’s probably the easiest to fix…

[Recipe: High-Potassium Juice & Potassium-Rich Super Smoothie]

Full Transcript of the Video:

There is a secret health epidemic nobody is talking about. It’s proven to be more of a risk factor for your heart than practically anything else. This factor is critical for your heart, your bone health, essential for your kidney health, for your nerve function and muscle growth, repair and performance. And if you don’t have this right – your risk of heart attack and stroke skyrocket.

Now you’re probably expecting me to say – eating sugar, or fats, or processed meats – smoking, not exercising?

Nope – today I’m talking about your potassium to sodium ratio.

What?

Exactly, nobody is talking about this and it’s so important. It’s essential to life itself. But the way our modern diet – full of processed, packaged foods has led us – we are consuming little to no potassium and lots more sodium – and not a healthy source of sodium either.

And on top of this misleading health messages from our doctors, mainstream health media, government and pharmaceutical industry – it has led us in completely the wrong direction. They have had everyone with heart risks focus on cutting out sodium – rather than adding in potassium.

The research has proven over and over that total sodium intake is nowhere near as powerful as simply increasing potassium. However, there is not so much money in this. Just like the fat-free farce of the past 40 years, leading us to consume 300% more sugar per day than is healthy on average – which is killing us in a different way – the ‘reduced salt’ ‘low salt’ industry is booming. Law prevents food and supplement manufacturers from adding potassium to their products (more on this in a minute) – so they took the low salt option.

It’s easy for food companies to reduce salt and replace that flavour with chemicals – and if the doctors and governments are telling you to eat a low salt diet – it’s money time. Just the same as with fat free – the government says low fat, the food companies can replace fat with sugar to get the flavour into their products, and they make a ton of money – and then lobby government to keep on spreading this message.

The bottom line is this, a salt-restricted diet is not the way to protect your health.

The most important factor is potassium intake.

Now I know this might be confronting to some people, so let’s take a look at some of the evidence and studies that have supported this:

The PURE study (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study) – a four year study involving over 100,000 people in 17 countries actually found that sodium intake was not a good predictor of heart health – those in the lowest risk group were consuming 3-6grams of sodium a day – far more than the daily recommended limits…

And they also found that those in the group consuming LESS than 3grams a day were in higher risk group.

This suggests a non-linear relationship between your heart and sodium – too much could be bad, too little could be bad – and too little leads to other risks by the way which we’ll get onto in a minute – BUT they proposed a different approach, and a new focus – rather than aggressively reducing sodium – we should be focusing on increasing potassium.

[Note: The results were published: “Association of Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion with Blood Pressure & “Urinary Sodium and Potassium Excretion, Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events.”]

Study after study has been conducted into sodium and health, and there is no compelling evidence that a low sodium diet helps. In fact, most show the opposite.

In 2004 researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration conducted a meta-analysis of 11 low salt trials and found that, in normally healthy people, over the long-term, low-salt diets decreased blood pressure from 120/80 to 119/79. In other words, it made very little difference.

And in a 2006 study in the American Journal of Medicine compared the reported daily sodium intakes of 78 million Americans and showed that lower sodium diets led to HIGHER mortality rates among those with cardiovascular disease!

In 2011, the Cochrane Collaboration conducted yet another review of the available data, concluding that when you reduce your salt intake, you actually increase several other risk factors that could theoretically eliminate the reduced risk for cardiovascular disease predicted from lowering your blood pressure!

And concerningly for people with heart and blood pressure issues, they found that – and I quote them here

“sodium reduction resulted in a significant increase in plasma cholesterol and plasma triglyceride which expressed in percentage, was numerically larger than the decrease in BP blood pressure”.

The bottom line is, as we’ve always said – salt is critical to your health.

Sodium is one of the most alkaline minerals, and it’s one of the sources that powers your body – and along with potassium it is a powerful combination that keeps you functioning day in and day out.

Molecular pumps pull potassium into cells and push sodium out to create a chemical battery. This battery drives the transmission of signals along nerves and powers the contraction of muscles.

Potassium and sodium help the kidneys work properly. They are essential for energy production and fluid balance. And researchers are beginning to tease out their roles in bone health.

So you NEED salt – but the right kind of salt – not regular table salt which is predominantly sodium chloride and refined with man-made chemicals. You need natural salts – Himalayan salt, sea salt – natural, unprocessed, unrefined salt. And don’t restrict it – this isn’t helping you.

As I mentioned before – too little salt has not been able to be proven to be supportive of heart health, but it HAS been linked to other risks and even to your heart and blood pressure.

In a 2016 study published in The Lancet – while those already diagnosed with hypertension should measure and track their sodium intake to not go too high…for those WITHOUT hypertension, a low sodium diet was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and death.

It’s clear that focusing on sodium makes things very unclear!

Confusion, Conflicting Advice, Overwhelm…anyone?

We often talk about how overwhelm, confusion, conflicting advice is the biggest frutstation for people wanting to make healthy changes to their diet – and how about this!

  • People eating a ton of salt were in the low risk group.
  • People eating low levels of salt were also in the low risk group.
  • People WITH hypertension with a high salt diet should change it…
  • People WITHOUT hypertension should eat MORE salt.
  • And a low-salt diet can increase risk of hypertension!

Which is true?!

Well, the bottom line is they all are. The truth is, sodium isn’t the important factor here. Your POTASSIUM INTAKE, and it’s relative ratio to your sodium is the ONLY critical factor here.

And the shocking fact is, estimates predict that 95% of us are eating nowhere near enough potassium each day.

How much potassium should we have?

While the recommended amount in the USA, UK, Europe, Australia sits are an average of around 4,700mg/day – this isn’t the most important measure. Of course, we need to get enough.

But on top of this our ratio of sodium to potassium has to be right. We’re getting way too much sodium in relation to our potassium – and this is causing a huge amount of issues in the body. If you’re facing any kind of blood pressure, heart, hypertension, cardiovascular issues OR if you’re facing issues with your bone health, density, strength, or muscular issues – I highly recommend you pay attention to this.

And getting enough potassium is critical. But – keeping your SODIUM TO POTASSIUM RATIO is even more critical.

According to a Harvard Health School report:

“Thousands of years ago, when humans roamed the earth gathering and hunting, potassium was abundant, while sodium was scarce. The so-called Paleolithic diet delivered about 11,000 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day…but well under 700 mg of sodium. The scarcity of sodium is reflected in the human body’s marvelous ability to hold onto this substance.”

The body only NEEDS 200mg of sodium a day to survive, but the average person eating a regular western diet is having up to 7,500mg per day – crazy.

And as mentioned, it’s recommended we have 4,700mg of potassium yet most people are getting half of that amount at best.
So we’ve evolved with a sodium potassium ratio requirement of around 1:6 sodium to potassium and we’re actually consuming 4:1 sodium to potassium.

In the 2011 study “Sodium and Potassium Intake and Mortality Among US Adults” the researchers found, after looking at studies involving 12,000 adults that “Our findings suggest that a higher sodium-potassium ratio is associated with significantly increased risk of CVD and all-cause mortality”

Not good. We have to address this.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

ttac live

Action Plan:

Step One: Ditch Processed Foods

Processed foods are almost always high in sodium and very very low in potassium. They are also a source of hidden sugars, preservatives, acid-forming ingredients, chemicals and very low nutrient content. Certainly nothing fresh. Plus they’re often pasteurised which kills off any remaining nutrients. Rubbish.

These foods are easily replaced in the diet with just a little pre-preparing and planning. There is not a fast-food, oven meal, microwave meal (and don’t get me started on microwaves) that cannot be replaced with just a little pre-preparation and planning.

For example, just look at this – instead of a regular store bought spaghetti bolognaise sauce which contains very little potassium, a ton of sodium and an unholy amount of sugar, I simply blend:

5 tomatoes
1 garlic clove
½ red onion
½ cucumber
50g spinach
1 carrot

This contains 1600mg of potassium per serve – just for this. What a change – plus a ton of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory and alkaline forming foods. Plus it’s raw, so you can just gently warm it and it’s ready to go without destroying the nutrients in the food.

This is just one quick, simple example. And, if like we do you serve this sauce over a bed of steamed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, peas, carrots and green beans – this bed of veggies contains around 1400mg of potassium, meaning you’ve gotten 3000mg of potassium from this dinner…

Instead of a bolognaise sauce over pasta and meatballs which would have contained all of that sugar, almost no nutrient content, lots of man-made chemicals, preservatives, and and a lot of processed sodium with very very little potassium.

Step Two: Lots of Fresh Veggies and a Little Fruit

The foods that are highest in potassium – one of the most alkaline minerals on earth, are of course highly alkaline forming foods – in other words, fresh foods, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Now, you need to be careful of not over consuming fruit as the high fructose content can cause big problems with the liver, your hormones, inflammation and acidity – that’s another video.

BUT I do recommend that 1-2 pieces of in-season fruit per day is fine. Avoid fruit juices (fructose without fibre is disasterous for your body), and avoid dried fruits, because these are easy to overconsume, and they are just little bundles of concentrated sugar.
The foods highest in potassium that I recommend are:

Beet Greens, Swiss Chard (Silverbeet), Spinach, Bok Choi, Beetroot, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Tomoatoes, Asparagus, Cabbage, Carrots, Kale, Celery, Lettuce, Bell Pepper, Lima Beans, Sweet Potato, Avocado and Kidney Beans.

Again – loads of green foods – as ever, whenever there is a nutrient and the foods recommended – it’s always loads of alkaline green foods. There is a trend here….

Fruits can support this too but generally they are way lower in potassium than these foods – even the much lauded potassium king the banana, gram for gram contains WAY less potassium than those foods listed above.

Step Three: Juices & Smoothies

Yep, juices and smoothies again – I never stop recommending having a green juice or smoothie each morning before you leave the house. Here is the recipe for my High-Potassium Juice and Potassium Rich Super Smoothie – so no excuses about only having a juicer or blender – there is one of each!

These are a fantastic way to get a huge hit of potassium before you even leave the house!

The bottom line is that in a juice or smoothie you can pack WAY more veggies in than you would normally be able to happily eat in one sitting, and you can get them in before breakfast – not something you’d normally do in a day!

Either is fine, the bonus of smoothies being that you can add avocado (super great source of potassium and healthy fats) and you get all the fibre…the benefits of juices is you remove the fibre so you can more easily digest the nutrients AND you can add more leafy greens.

Do this daily and you’ll really feel the difference!

Step Four: Healthy Salts and NOT Cut Back

Swap your salt now. If you are still using regular table salt, cut it out immediately. And if you are going to follow step one and cut out processed foods, you will need more salt added into your home-made foods – and I highly recommend a natural salt like pink Himalayan salt.

Salt is essential to your health with your body requiring it for so many processes including: Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid; Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells; Maintain and regulate blood pressure; Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning; Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange
You need it – but the right kind.

Whereas regular table salt is 97% sodium chlorine and then 3% man made, carcinogenic chemicals, Himalayan salt is 84% sodium and the other 16% is naturally occurring trace minerals that are SO beneficial for your health.

The Takeaway Message Here is:

You need to cut out processed foods and add in these fresh, green, healthy, natural foods – real salt, and if you’re concerned about your cardiovascular health, bone health, muscle health – I recommend you look specifically into your recent daily diet – make a retrospective food diary of your past 3-4 days and look at how much potassium and sodium you consumed. Use a site like those listed below this video – nutrient data or calorieking and calculate your totals. It could be very eye opening for you.

Ditch the junk, eat real foods and let’s do this, let’s take your energy up to the next level!

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Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You

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  1. Deborah campbell Reply

    Enjoyed your article, I was told my intracellular potassium level was very low how can I get potassium into my cell?

    • ross Reply

      Generally speaking – food sources of nutrients reach the cell way more prolifically than supplements/man made source. Potassium has the slight wrinkle that you can’t buy a potassium supplement – so you can ONLY get it from nature.

      Sometimes nutrients need other nutrients to be properly digested and this is why eating our nutrients – getting them from food sources is the best way – as nature gives you all the tools you need in one package to get the benefit from those nutrients.

  2. Kathy Reply

    Guess I have been consuming more potassium than I thought.. but my blood work showed I was low in potassium. Dr did not give me pills but a list of foods to eat to build up my potassium in my blood. So I have Avocado’s to use and kale and spinach and romaine.. safe to say I have what is important to eat. Now how do I eat this way on a trip to see the Ark>?

  3. Joan Reply

    Ross, I like the way you give us the written/video option. I’m a quick reader so find that option great, and thank you so much for such a sensible approach to health. I have colitis and so can’t eat a lot of fruit, so 1-2 pieces suits me. I also have a problem with raw and too much fibre, so can you suggest an alternative ways of utilising smoothies/green drinks ingredients
    Thank you
    Joan

  4. Anne burnley Reply

    Very interesting as I stopped taking table salt many years ago as due to criticism on the amount that I used, and this story being repeated to others as a horror. However I now have a significant number of health problems whereas when I took salt (childhood up to middle age) I was optimum body weight and healthy .I’m starting on the pink Himalayan salt and see what happens . Thank you for all your information. please resend the recepies.

  5. Susan Reply

    what about iodine which is in table salt? does Himalayan salt have iodine?

    • Louise Munlin Reply

      I truly LOVE reading any and everything. that you inform us about our health and the food and nutrients we NEED AND DO NOT NEEDf for health and our, survival. You address all of the things that are important to me because I was once a health guro myself. Juiced everyday, anxious to read anything concerning green foods, vitamins and minerals, probiotics, dgestive enzymes, amino acids, proteins and so much more. Cured myself with these nutrients and vitamins, of course reading any and everything about health and fitness is what kept me alive for neatly seventy years. Stopped this regiment because of factors beyond my control, here I am suffering from the same kidney disease again that I had before over nearly thirteen years, is why I am so happy to receive and read your articles. Will love to join your group but it would have to be the 3rd of November when I receive my social security check. Thank YOU SO MUCH FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING TO BRING AWARENESS TO US ABOUT OUR HEALTH AND ALL THE OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES PERTAINING TO GREAT HEALTH AND OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR OUR SURVIVAL! YOU ARE TRULY ONE OF THE GREATEST HEALTH GURU AND PERSON THAT I. KNOW AND TRULY ENJOY READING AND ABSORBING WHAT YOU ARE TELLING US! ABOUT HEALTH!!! PEACE AND LOVE!

  6. Bente Petersen Reply

    Hi Ross,
    just marrying all this together with what I studied over the last 5 years.. ie biology & physics – classic, modern and latest the M.T. Keshe’s new physics…. marrying it together with these foods… especially the alkaline ones… ”of course” I knew when you sweat in the heat, has a fever or is in the sauna, you need to take salt and potassium… marrying together with what I knew on memberane voltage… and had a ”few” cogs on the way… Your data is SO good, makes it easy to see relationsship and tie all these knowledge areas together, and it becomes very clear how the food heals the body, give energy, and with that we can be, do and have what we really really want in and of life for ourselves, our family and friends… and our nation etc etc etc…
    This is so so so Super !!!!!

  7. Chet Reply

    Hi Ross. I echo Sue’s comments. Can’t find the recipe’s either. Would appreciate if you could post.

    Thanks,

  8. Denise Norwood Reply

    Hi Ross, I have been following you since early on, and thank you for my exceptional vigor and joy (age 66). Would you speak to Hashimotos Disease and the dietary recommendation to avoid nightshade and goiterone vegetables. Also, I am curious as to why tomatoes and bell peppers exacerbate my laryngo-pharengeal reflux problem (I recently retired from 47 years as a professional singer, which caused the LPR). It is an on-going curiosity to me and I’m sure many others, how some nightshades are alkaline, yet flare up an acid based condition such as reflux disease. Thanks again, you are a much appreciated voice.
    Denise Norwood

  9. Celine Reply

    You have recommended either Himalyan salt or Sea salt. I am using sea salt instead of table salt since many years. Is it OK?

  10. Anna Reply

    Thanks Ross, loving the ongoing education on health.

  11. Jerry Rodgers Reply

    How effective is drinking 8.8ph alkaline water. Can drinking this water help with the increase of potassium and can too much potassium be harmful?

  12. Jeff Reply

    You said see below for smoothie recipe?
    Where?

  13. Dr Terence Reply

    Unable to find your potassium-rich smoothie recipe.

  14. Bec Reply

    Hi Ross,
    I can’t seem to find the recipe for the smoothie and juice.. can you please send to me! I love your emails.. such great info! Thanks, Bec

  15. Sue Reply

    Hi Ross. You mention a recipe below for potassium rich super smoothie but I can’t find it in your article or when I searched your site. Can you post the recipe please. Thanks

  16. Charolette Beatty Reply

    wonderful information in here Ross Thanks so much for passing on the live Cancer broadcast I believe in this (I’ll forward this to my family and friends) Thanks to my Experiences with a friend I met in Mexico, Ed Griffin who began world with out cancer, the FDA here in the U.S. shut down his resources , then learning from Dr Lorraine Day and Hallelujah Acres in 1999 I overcame stage 2 breast cancer.
    I’d love your recipes for the one each potassium rich smoothie and juice mentioned below. there is none below as mentioned in your transcript.
    I know I’m not going to be able to start my Alkaline reset cleanse with the group I signed with at this time but both recipes you mentioned would be a help to know how you put this together. Thanks for the pasta sauce , woops I do microwave my cooked veggies. it’s been the greatest time and energy saver, why are you against it? There was a thing Hallelujah acres published against it because a nurse put blood plasma in the microwave to warm it and the patient died . But anything brought to over 105 f will die so cooked is cooked and is dead and dead is dead from what my husband says, so nuke it , by the way he’s a nuclear engineer, so I nuke it. I’m grateful for all you do. Best Regards Charolette Beatty

  17. Pam Julin Reply

    Wonderful information Ross. My body craves salt. I’ve used sea salt for years but am going to get some Himalayan. Salt adds so much to some of my soups. A couple grinds in my soup, yum!

  18. Karen Reply

    Thanks Ross for yet another great article! Question for you; Does Himalayan salt contain iodine? Is iodine important in our diets?
    Thanks,
    Karen

  19. Karen Reply

    Thanks Ross for yet another great article! Question for you; Does Himalayan salt contain iodine? Is iodine important in our diets?
    Thanks,
    Karen

  20. Bente Petersen Reply

    Thanks Ross, will change to Himalayan salr, Think I am covered now I am on the green smootihies and salads on the Before… will ad juices when I get a juicer in a couple of days… good for my mornings… I do often drink a glas or two ie 2-400 ml water with apple cider vinegare… eat grapefruits every day… for 3 years… and yes potassium is essential for me it was a lifesaver when working in very hot climates… no idea it was good for heart too… ALL GOOD DATE
    ml
    bente
    may I post this on my fb?

  21. Monique Reply

    Wow, who knew? Very interesting, thanks so much for sharing this essential information Ross!

  22. Leonie Mateer Reply

    Great information.. Thanks, Leonie Mateer

  23. Hanmant Bhat Reply

    I have CKD with serum creatinine remaining around 2.2 against the higher limit of 1.3.
    What should be my consumption ratio of Na/K ?
    Can I judge my health from Na/K in by serum sample Na/K
    Please guide about consumption of K and Na.

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